Hospital del Mar Research Institute Hospital del Mar Research Institute

Scientific Retreat 2023, 75 years doing research

The Hospital del Mar Research Institute held its Scientific Retreat on November 8 and 9. This year has been special, since, apart from reviewing the present and future of the institute, it has served to celebrate its 75th anniversary, the oldest active public research center in Spain.

The 2023 edition of the Scientific Retreat of the Hospital del Mar Research Institute was special. This annual meeting to review the highlights of the year at the institution also served to celebrate its 75th anniversary, making it the oldest active public research center in Spain. A benchmark facility in the field of biomedical research that looks to the future.

The event was opened by Dr. Olga Pané, manager of the Hospital del Mar, who addressed the researchers, telling them to "make research a beacon of hope for patients and professionals, and a feat of society, which is materialized in our centers". In turn, the director of the Hospital del Mar Research Institute, Dr. Joaquín Arribas, wanted to emphasize that in the last twelve months, "our researchers, from group leaders to trainees, have managed to improve both the impact of publications and the attraction of competitive resources, as well as the translation to society".

From left to right: Jordi Martínez, Josep M Antó, Joaquín Arribas, Olga Pané, Jordi Camí, Miquel López-Botet and Rafael de la Torre.

Review of the institute's history

Jessica Mouzo, a journalist specializing in science and health for the newspaper El País, led a round table discussion with the former directors of the center. In it, Dr. Jordi Camí, who led the institution between 1985 and 2005, explained that it was necessary to start from scratch. "We took advantage of opportunities, we had to reinvent the center to promote clinical research," he said. His successor (2005-2006), Dr. Josep Maria Antó, wanted to "vindicate the importance of management and leadership, but also the beauty of management. You can contribute to people's happiness".

Dr. Miguel López-Botet, who took over as director between 2006 and 2015, added that "we did many things with enormous enthusiasm, there was euphoria", managing between 2006 and 2014 to shoot up scientific production. Dr. Rafael de la Torre, director in the period 2015-2016, recalled that "he wanted us to be the research center of the area of influence of the Hospital del Mar, to put us on the map of Barcelona".

In this regard, Dr. Joaquim Bellmunt (2016-2019), who spoke at the event via a recorded video, wanted to highlight "we try to improve access to external grants and clinical collaboration with basic research". Dr. Jordi Martínez, Director of Digital Innovation at Hospital del Mar and who succeeded him between 2019 and 2020, assured that "the research support team is essential, it is a more obscure job, but if it does not work, the management of a research center is impossible". Finally, Dr. Joaquín Arribas, explained that now it is necessary "to take the institution to the next phase, there will be difficulties, but it is a challenge that we take with great desire, to promote research, as a strategy for the future".


Dr. Ana Bigas, coordinator of the Stem Cell and Cancer Research Group, explained the outstanding cancer research being carried out at the Hospital del Mar Research Institute. Then, the coordinator of the Addictions Research Group, Dr. Marta Torrens, and Dr. Esther Barreiro, from the Research Group on Muscle Wasting and Cachexia in Chronic Respiratory Diseases and Lung Cancer, reviewed the 25 years of work in their fields. Finally, the director of the Biomedical Informatics Research Program, Dr. Mar Albà, spoke about the research carried out in recent years and the role of microproteins in human evolution and cancer, while Rafael Ramos, director of the research support unit of the Institut Català de la Salut in Girona, spoke about epidemiology, public health and primary care research.

In the context of the 75th anniversary celebration, a meeting of the leaders of the institute's research groups was held on 9 November to define the strategy to be followed in the coming years. This meeting was attended by Robert Fabregat, CEO of Biocat, who gave a presentation on the main trends in biomedical research, with special emphasis on the importance of translation to society and the productive sector. Afterwards, each of the program directors gave a presentation on the current situation of the program and future objectives. The day ended with a very participative discussion in which the first key points to be considered for the design of the next institutional strategic plan were established.

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