Institute for Research in Biomedicine

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Template:Infobox Non-profit

The Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) is an institution engaged in basic and applied research at the interface between molecular and cell biology, computational and structural biology and chemistry, with experts in proteomics, genomics, biostatistics and advanced digital microscopy. The institute was created by the Government of Catalonia in October 2005 and is located at the Barcelona Science Park (Parc Científic de Barcelona - PCB). The director of the Institute is Prof. Joan J. Guinovart i Cirera and the Prof. Joan Massagué Solé is scientific advisor. IRB Barcelona was recently named a "Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence"<ref name="test">Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence</ref> by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (2011), current Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.


The Institute aims to promote multidisciplinary research of excellence at the interface between biology, chemistry and medicine, to foster collaborations with local organisations and international research institutes, to provide high-level training in the biomedical sciences to staff, students and visitors, to promote innovation and technology transfer, and to actively engage in an open dialogue with the public through a series of outreach and education activities. IRB Barcelona's ultimate objective is to translate research results to the clinic.


All administrative and scientific divisions of the IRB Barcelona are located at the PCB. The Park also hosts the research centres of several biotech and pharmaceutical companies, as well as technical services and cutting-edge technology platforms.


From the Board of Trustees, the Executive Board and the External Advisory Board downwards, IRB Barcelona is structured in three large areas:


  • Cell and Developmental Biology: Gene expression analyses, developmental molecular biology, cell biology, functional genomics and proteomics of cell and embryo development, and tissue regeneration.
  • Structural and Computational Biology: The structural analysis of macromolecules and their interactions using X-rays, NMR, electron microscopy, macromolecular biophysics, bioinformatics and molecular modeling.
  • Molecular Medicine: Translational research into the molecular bases of metabolic and genetic diseases, the study of diagnostic or therapeutic targets and the functional genomics and proteomics of diseases.
  • Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology: The design and synthesis of small molecules and macromolecules, emphasizing the building of libraries and the optimisation of the production of synthetic compounds; the development of biotechnologies for molecular selection directed at therapeutic targets and the study of the relationships between drugs and their targets.
  • Oncology: The study of diverse aspects of tumour initiation and progression, the relationship between stem cells and cancer, and the identification of the genetic programmes that drive tissue-specific metastasis. Networking with major clinical oncology centres.


  • Advanced Digital Microscopy (ADM) Core Facility: a newly created facility committed to providing a complete range of light microscopy imaging services to IRB Barcelona and PCB researchers and visiting scientists.
  • Biostatistics / Bioinformatics Unit: its mission is to conduct collaborative research and provide consultation and quantitative research resources to all IRB Barcelona research groups.
  • Functional Genomics Core Facility: it provides state-of-the-art tools for genomic research, including genome-wide expression profiling, DNA copy number, and SNP analysis.
  • Mass Spectrometry Core Facility: it is equipped with high accuracy and high resolution mass spectrometers with new incorporated MS techniques.
  • Mouse Mutant Core Facility: it generates murine models of disease and development for researchers at IRB Barcelona and their collaborators.
  • Protein Expression Core Facility: it provides a range of ‘High-Throughput’ (HTP) services for the local academic scientific community.

Other scientific services at IRB Barcelona:

  • Drosophila Injection Service

Researchers at IRB Barcelona have access to other services and facilities provided by the PCB, where the IRB Barcelona laboratories are located, by the University of Barcelona Scientific and Technical Services, most of which are also located also at the PCB, and finally, by PCB Biotechnology Platforms.


Board of Trustees

The IRB Barcelona Board of Trustees is the governing body of the Institute and is responsible for overseeing research activities, approving the operating funds and ensuring that the annual goals are met. The Board is composed of eleven members and is chaired by the Ministry of Health of the Government of Catalonia.

Executive Board

The main responsibilities of the Executive Board are to oversee the Institute's management performance, monitor the execution and progress of the functions delegated by the Board of Trustees and promote scientific activities. The Executive Board is presided by the Director General of Research of the Government of Catalonia.

External Advisory Board (EAB)

The EAB plays a key role in providing strategic guidance and regularly assessing the scientific work carried out by IRB Barcelona researchers. The Board comprises 14 renowned experts in the field of biomedicine.

As at January 2012, the EAB includes the following members: Dr. Dario Alessi, University of Dundee, Dundee - UK; Dr. Michael Czech, University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston - USA; Dr. José Elguero, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Madrid - Spain; Dr. Samuel H. Gellman, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin - USA; Dr. David M. Glover, University of Cambridge,Cambridge - UK; Dr. Andrew Hamilton, Oxford University, Oxford - UK; Dr. Robert Huber, Max-Planck-Institut fuer Biochemie, Martinsried - Germany; Dr. Tim Hunt, Imperial Cancer Research Fund, London - UK; Dr. Luis F. Parada, Ph.D. UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas – USA; Dr. Dinshaw J. Patel, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York - USA; Dr. Gertrud Schupbach, Princeton University, Princeton - USA; Dr. Charles J. Sherr, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Tennessee - USA; Dr. Giulio Superti-Furga, CeMM Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna - Austria; Dr. Karen Vousden, The Beatson Institute for Cancer Research, Glasgow- UK

Institutional Relations

Funding sources

IRB Barcelona receives most of its core funding from the Government of Catalonia through the Department of Health and the Department of Economy and Knowledge.

Additional funds are provided through competitive grants obtained from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness and the European Union through ERDF funds and the Seventh Framework Programme, among others.

IRB Barcelona scientists also receive financial support form the University of Barcelona, the Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA), the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and several Spanish CIBER networks.


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External links