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Journalists met scientists in a 3-day study trip to Barcelona


Vie, 23/05/2014 - 11:34

Journalists met scientists in a 3-day study trip to Barcelona

  • 15 journalists from all over Europe came 3 days to visit 4 research centres in a study trip organized by the EU project CommHERE and the European Union of Science Journalists Associations (EUSJA).

The CRG is partner in the EU FP7 Communication Network CommHERE that attempts to effectively communicate the results of the research-funded projects by the EU Health Directorate. The centre, in collaboration with the EMBL and the EUSJA, invited journalists from Poland, Russia, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Netherlands and Spain, to come to Barcelona and have a visit-in-depth of the research in health performed by 4 top scientific institutions: the CRG, The Institute of Photonics Sciences (ICFO), the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) and the Vall d'Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO).

The goal of the study trip was to show case the cutting-edge research facilities based in Barcelona that join forces on many common projects to understand the complexity of life - from the genome to the cell to a whole organism -, and the mechanisms that underlie genetic diseases. Journalists had the opportunity to visit the research facilities while having the chance to have a direct conversation with the researchers.

James Sharpe talking about Mesoscopic Imaging

At the CRG they had the chance to meet:

Luciano Di Croce explaining his project 4DCellFate

Cristina Chivas explaining how the spectrometers work

Jurgen Mayer, in the dark room explaining the "optics" behind their research

At the same time, we organized a Science cafe where journalistst had the chance to meet biotech entrepreneurs from spin offs like qGenomics (CRG and UPF) and Hemophotonics (from ICFO), basic researchers in the field of bioinformatics (from BSC) and scientific managers in translational research (from VHIO). The cafe had two tables:

Table 1 – From the bench to the market

What fraction of the new knowledge created in research labs actually goes on to provide some tangible benefit outside of the scientific community? Probably an increasing fraction as specific departments are being set-up in most research institutions to help with that process. However the leap from the academic to the market requires more, and different, research to be done. The scientific interest is not the only objective anymore, and research team need to change paradigm to look more deeply into issues such as efficiency, practicality, and ethical- acceptability. We will expose some of the issues and solutions through three specific examples.

With :

Table 2 – Big Data and Health

Future medicine aims to focus on patients, not diseases, thus opening the era of precision medicine. This step forward will largely build on the increasing potential of data analyses and the power of computer models and simulations. Although quite spectacular these advancements also present us with the challenge of managing this massive amount of data. Biological data (outside of population sequencing projects) is expected grow by a factor of 100 by the end of the decade, and it is very heterogenous.  Data from “omics” analyses, simulations, chemistry analyses, or structural investigation, for example, are difficult to organise together and, in some cases, their use can be restricted due to ethical concerns. The biomedical community needs to address this issue in order to store and use clinically relevant data, while also respecting privacy concerns: more technical progresses should arrive soon.





Participants of the visit:

Spin offs participants: