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Monday, 18 July 2016

The Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology presents its first lines of research

Examples of the lines of research that BIST will promote include big data, super-resolution microscopy, graphene and chemical biology. The aim of BIST is to become a multidisciplinary institution which serves as an international benchmark for research. It is supported by Obra Social La Caixa and is made up of six Catalan research centers accredited as Severo Ochoa centres of excellence: CRG, ICFO, ICIQ, ICN2, IFAE and IRB Barcelona.

The Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST) presented some of the areas of research that it aims to promote over the next few years. The presentation was held on July 15, at the Obra Social La Caixa’s Palau Macaya, and conducted by Jaume Giró, CEO of La Caixa Banking Foundation and Vice-President of the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST), Andreu Mas-Colell, President of BIST, and Montserrat Vendrell, CEO of BIST.

The Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology is a scientific initiative of six of Catalonia’s research centers of excellence whose objective is to increase their levels of collaboration in order to put together a joint scientific project. Its strength is based on the potential research capacities of the six centers and is supported by, among others, La Caixa Banking Foundation, to promote multidisciplinary, cutting-edge projects.

The multidisciplinary approach in science is key
The challenges we face as a society today are complex and multifaceted. The specialisation that scientific progress requires contrasts with the need to seek cross-cutting themes, from genomics to photonics, from nanotechnology to chemical biology. The scientific project BIST is aiming to construct is based on the search for these complementary and interdisciplinary themes, not only to promote the creation of innovative projects, but also to provide the most competitive environment for the training of scientists.

Big data, chemical biology, super-resolution microscopy and graphene are just four examples of the multidisciplinary initiatives that BIST will be promoting over the next few years.

An opportunity in the field of big data
A requirement that scientists in different fields have in common is the analysis of data to obtain knowledge. Using a combination of data from various sources, researchers can analyse and make predictions about the future of a system. The increasing amounts of data available to them give rise to the challenge of finding ways of using new IT tools to help them work efficiently.

Super-resolution microscopy
Obtaining information on materials and biological entities at a nanometric and molecular level is of great importance in current cutting-edge research (on the frontiers of the knowledge that we have at our disposal).

In recent years, extremely powerful optical techniques have been developed that permit observation at unprecedented levels of resolution. For example, it is now possible for the first time to visualise, in vivo, processes that are crucially important to study the origin of diseases on a sub-cellular or molecular scale and to make possible the understanding of the relationship between the structure and physical or chemical properties of molecules and materials.

Graphene and 2D materials: enormous potential for cooperation
Graphene is one of the important focuses of attention for the research and industrial community worldwide. There is no finer or more lightweight material and its resistance, flexibility and conductive properties are second to none; we are only just beginning to see its possibilities in fields such as technology, medicine and energy. Barcelona could become a benchmark location in the race to bring applications based on these materials to the market.

A tool for translational research
The journal Natural Chemical Biology defines Chemical Biology as a field that combines the scientific ideas and tools of chemistry, biology and other disciplines to understand and manipulate biological systems with molecular precision. BIST aims to promote an area of work focusing on Chemical Biology (ChemBio), the objective of which is to study and understand biological problems by applying the techniques and tools of chemistry. 

Another of BIST’s founding missions is to help increase scientific knowledge in our country. In collaboration with members of its board of trustees and other bodies, BIST aims to develop an agenda that includes training the trainers, science campuses for young people and a series of activities to help make science and scientific methods a key part of learning.

Information via: www.bist.eu