IMIM - Institut Hospital del Mar d'Investigacions Mèdiques IMIM - Institut Hospital del Mar d'Investigacions Mèdiques

News

  • 15/09/2020 - Press release

    Decryption of a molecular code that regulates the behavior of the cells

    The research group of GPCR Drug Discovery at the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM), in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur, has deciphered how nature adjusts the response of the human cell to abundant extracellular stimuli (e.g., smell, taste, light, hormones, etc.). When a cell receives an extracellular stimulus, it initiates a signaling process that can result in major physiological changes. This process is mediated by cell membrane proteins such as G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs). Depending on the stimulus, those receptors regulate cell activity through different molecular mechanisms.  Extracellular stimulation of GPCRs leads to its activation and subsequently to the phosphorylation of its long intracellular tail. Interestingly, there are multiple phosphorylation patterns of the receptor tail - each of them linked to a specific signaling response. The phosphorylation code is read by intracellular proteins known as β-arrestins. In response, they typically silence the receptor and modulate intracellular kinases, which have a global impact on cell behaviour related to gene expression, cell survival and cell death. "Until now, the phosphorylation code and the involvement of arrestins in deciphering it has been an open question" explains Dr. Selent. "We have discovered the underlying molecular mechanism of how arrestin reads and translates a specific phosphorylation pattern into a cellular response" she adds.

    Més informació "Decryption of a molecular code that regulates the behavior of the cells"

  • 03/09/2020 - Press release

    European grant of 1.5 million euros to study how the brain encodes and stores our experiences

    The European Research Council (ERC) has awarded Dr. Arnau Busquets García, a Ramón y Cajal researcher at the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM), with a prestigious ERC Starting Grant. This recognition includes 1.5 million euros to develop a 5-year project. Grants from the ERC, which are part of the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, are the main source of European funding for research excellence. They support highly innovative projects led by outstanding and internationally renowned researchers, with the aim of helping them to build their own teams and carry out pioneering research in Europe. In this year's edition, 3272 applications were submitted and 436 grants were awarded, for a total of 677 million euros. The recipients have 40 different nationalities and the projects will be developed in 25 different EU member states. The countries awarded the most grants are Germany (88 grants), the UK (62), the Netherlands (42), and France (38). Spain secured a total of 23 grants, 7 of which are going to Catalan research centers.

    Més informació "European grant of 1.5 million euros to study how the brain encodes and stores our experiences"

  • 17/08/2020 - Press release

    Dr. Marta Torrens and Dr. Rafael Maldonado edit a special issue of European Neuropsychopharmacology on the recreational use of cannabis

    The journal is dedicating a prominent position to research on cannabis and its derivatives, its recreational use, the associated risks, and potential medical applications. It features articles by some of the most prominent figures in the field, under the editorship of Dr. Torrens and Dr. Maldonado. The July issue of the journal European Neuropsychopharmacology is dedicating a special section to the controversy over the globally growing trend to legalise the use of marijuana for certain recreational and medical uses. This has been edited by Dr. Marta Torrens, director of the Addictions Process Group at the Hospital del Mar Institute of Neuropsychiatry and Addictions (INAD) and coordinator of the Addictions Research Group at the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM), and Dr. Rafael Maldonado, head of the Neuropharmacology Laboratory at the Department of Experimental and Health Sciences (CEXS) at Pompeu Fabra University and the IMIM. Together they authored an editorial on the subject for the journal.

    Més informació "Dr. Marta Torrens and Dr. Rafael Maldonado edit a special issue of European Neuropsychopharmacology on the recreational use of cannabis"

  • 10/08/2020 - Press release

    COVID-19 hits hardest in the poorest areas of Barcelona

    The COVID-19 pandemic that, according to data from the Ministry of Health, has caused nearly 30,000 deaths in Spain, is hitting the most impoverished neighbourhoods the hardest, as confirmed by a study recently published in the Journal of Public Health and led by researchers from the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM) and IDIAPJGol. The work reveals that, during the peak of the epidemic in the city of Barcelona, the district with the lowest average income, Nou Barris, recorded an incidence of cases 2.5 times higher than that of the district with the highest income, Sarrià-Sant Gervasi. The work took into account the incidence of cases recorded by age between 26 February and 19 April, one of the peak periods of the disease in Barcelona, and compared this with the average income data by district. In total, almost 9,000 cases were analysed. The results highlight a direct relationship between lower income and a higher number of COVID-19 cases.

    Més informació "COVID-19 hits hardest in the poorest areas of Barcelona"

  • 10/08/2020 - Press release

    FONDO SUPERA COVID-19 selects a study led by the Hospital de Mar Medical Research Institute, the Hospital del Mar and the University of Girona/IDIBGI, also involving the University of Vic and IDIAPJGol

    The project is one of 12 selected by the evaluation committee and will receive the second highest amount of money, 250,000 euros. The study, which involves the University of Girona, the University of Vic-Central-University of Catalonia and the Foundation for Higher Studies in Health Sciences, the Trueta and Santa Caterina hospitals and the University Institute for Primary Health Care Research (IDIAP-Jordi Gol), with the company Gen inCode and several healthcare centres in the United States also showing an interest, will analyse genetic predisposition to coronary risk as a prognostic element of severity in the event of contracting COVID-19. The CARGENCORS study, or CARdiovascular GENetic risk score for Risk Stratification of patients positive for the SARS-CoV-2 (COvid19) virus, was selected by the FONDO SUPERA COVID-19 (Beat COVID-19 Fund) evaluation committee, organised by the association of Spanish Universities (CRUE), the CSIC, and Santander Bank. With a pot of 8.5 million euros, the fund will finance projects in various fields with the aim of minimising the impact of the current pandemic, focusing on three priority areas: applied research, projects with social impact and profitability, and strengthening the ICT capacity of the state university system.

    Més informació "FONDO SUPERA COVID-19 selects a study led by the Hospital de Mar Medical Research Institute, the Hospital del Mar and the University of Girona/IDIBGI, also involving the University of Vic and IDIAPJGol"

  • 27/07/2020 - Press release

    World-Wide FINGERS: Spain is part of the first global initiative for prevention of dementia and Alzheimer´s disease

    World-Wide FINGERS (WW-FINGERS) is the first global network of clinical trials for risk reduction and prevention of dementia and Alzheimer´s disease through multidomain interventions. Spanish researchers from the Barcelonaβeta Brain Research Center (BBRC), the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM) and the CITA Alzheimer Foundation participate in this network which convenes research teams from over 30 countries. The main scope, scientific strategy and activities of the WW-FINGERS network have been recently published in Alzheimer´s & Dementia. WW-FINGERS builds upon the successful experience of FINGER study: the Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability, led by Prof. Miia Kivipelto and her team (Karolinska Institutet, Sweden; University of Eastern Finland; Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare and Imperial College London, UK). This pioneering randomized clinical trial (RCT) demonstrated that a 2-year multidomain lifestyle intervention consisting of nutritional guidance, exercise, social stimulation, cognitive training, and control of vascular risk factors benefitted cognition in seniors at increased risk of dementia (Lancet 2015). 

    Més informació "World-Wide FINGERS: Spain is part of the first global initiative for prevention of dementia and Alzheimer´s disease"

  • 24/07/2020 - Press release

    One call ensures successful colonoscopy

    One simple call to go over colonoscopy preparation instructions 48 hours before an appointment increases test success by 11.5%. This has been demonstrated in a multi-centre study led by doctors and nurses from the Digestive Tract Service at Hospital del Mar and researchers from the Clinical and Translational Research Group on Colorectal Neoplasia at the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM). The work, published in the journal Endoscopy, analysed data from 657 patients from 11 Spanish hospitals.  This is the first multi-centre study to analyse how an educational approach can improve colon preparation in people at high risk of not achieving this.

    Més informació "One call ensures successful colonoscopy"

  • 14/07/2020 - Press release

    New tool for studying a key drug target

    G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRS) are one of the key elements mediating basic stimuli like our response to mosquito bites or to this last-minute goal scored by our favorite football team. In fact, these proteins are the target of almost 40% of the currently approved drugs. However, until now, researchers did not have access to a tool employing molecular simulations to achieve a better understanding of GPCR function. Therefore, a consortium of researchers from 23 different institutions of 10 different European countries and the United States have joined forces to design and build a tool that will help improve our understanding of the function of these receptors, which are responsible of transmitting signals to the interior of cells. The GPCRmd platform is the result of this work, lead and coordinated by the GPCR Drug Discovery group from the Research Programme on Biomedical Informatics (GRIB) of the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM), the Pompeu Fabra University, and the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) in Switzerland, with support from the Autonomous University of Barcelona.

    Més informació "New tool for studying a key drug target"

  • 08/07/2020 - Press release

    Star-Shaped Brain Cells Shed Light on the Link Between Cannabis Use and Sociability

    Cannabis use can lead to behavioral changes, including reduced social interactions in some individuals. To better understand the phenomenon, Inserm researcher Giovanni Marsicano and his team from NeuroCenter Magendie (Inserm/Université de Bordeaux), in collaboration with University of Salamanca (Spain) professor, Juan P Bolaños and his team, have identified for the first time in mice the cerebral mechanisms underlying the relationship between cannabis and reduced sociability. Their findings have been published in Nature. Dr. Arnau Busquets, currently a Ramon y Cajal researcher in the IMIM's Integrated Pharmacology and Systems Neuroscience Research Group is one of the first authors of this work.  He has been responsible for carrying out the in vivo part of the project in mice, during his postdoctoral period in Dr. Marsicano's team in Bordeaux. Dr. Busquets started his own group last September (https://www.imim.cat/programesrecerca/neurociencies/grfh/cell-type_mechanisms_in_normal_and_pathological_behavior/index.htm)

    Més informació "Star-Shaped Brain Cells Shed Light on the Link Between Cannabis Use and Sociability"

  • 05/06/2020 - Press release

    Dr. Clara Montagut, awarded a I CRIS Programme of Excellence in Cancer Research

    Detecting the best research talents and providing these people with financial, structural and stability means advancing in cancer care via translational research projects that improve treatment and diagnosis through innovation with clinical application. This is the ambitious goal of the innovative and cutting-edge I CRIS Research Programmes promoted by CRIS against cancer, which have already received their first awards thanks to a meticulous evaluation and selection process led by a prestigious committee of international experts. Over the next five years, the three winning projects will focus on colorectal cancer (the second-ranked cancer in terms of deaths) prostate cancer (diagnosed in 1.3 million people each year), and immunotherapy, a highly innovative type of treatment that is changing the outlook of many cancers. "Research is our life and only through research are we going to find a cure for cancer. With the CRIS Research Programmes we want to detect the best research talent and provide these people with financial and work-related peace of mind. We want to discover and support the Nobel Prize winners of tomorrow and these first CRIS Programmes are just the beginning. In the next edition we will double the number of winners, underlining our commitment to research in spite of the current situation we are experiencing",explains Diego Megía, president of CRIS against cancer.

    Més informació "Dr. Clara Montagut, awarded a I CRIS Programme of Excellence in Cancer Research"

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