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Francesc Posas, new director of IRB Barcelona

Francesc Posas Garriga, new director of the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona).

Francesc Posas Garriga, new director of the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona).



Francesc Posas Garriga, distinguished researcher worldwide on cell biology and professor at the Pompeu Fabra University (UPF), will be the new director of the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) on May 1. Francesc Posas will replace Joan J. Guinovart, emeritus professor from the Faculty of Chemistry of the UB, who took part in the setting up of the Institute in October 2005, and has been its director since the start.


The aim of IRB Barcelona is to conduct research of excellence on biomedicine and to improve people’s quality of life, as well as to promote training of talent, technology transfer and social communication of science. It was created in 2005 by the Generalitat de Catalunya and the University of Barcelona, and is a Severo Ochoa Center of Excellence since 2011. Formed by 25 laboratories and seven technology platforms, IRB Barcelona works to offer answers to basic questions on biology, and questions to study diseases such as cancer, metastasis, diabetes and rare diseases. This is an international center that gathers around 400 employees from more than thirty different countries. IRB Barcelona is part of the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST) and the Agency of Research Centers of Catalonia (CERCA). It is located in the Barcelona Science Park (PCB).

The appointment of the new director for IRB Barcelona has undergone an international  selection process, coordinated by CERCA Institute (Research Centers of Catalonia), from Generalitat de Catalunya. Seventeen people from six different countries submitted their candidacy. The International Science Committee of IRB Barcelona, chaired by the researcher Joan Massagué and formed by scientists from different centers worldwide, was in charge of assessing and proposing the candidate to the Board of Trustees, who approved the appointment.

Francesc Posas notes “it is an honor to have been offered the opportunity of directing one of the best research centers in this country”. “I will try to bring my experience and effort to promote the research carried out by excellent researchers to find out the basic causes of diseases” he highlights. Posas believes that “one of the most encouraging challenges at the moment is -with the involvement from all people in the Institute- to position IRB Barcelona as a distinguished center worldwide”. To do so, the new director says they “need the work from all members of the Institute and the collaboration from all institutions, research centers and universities around”. “We will reach this goal if, in addition, we continue promoting the training for young researchers, promoting knowledge transfer and looking for the involvement of our society” he says.

Francesc Posas will move his Cell Signaling Laboratory to IRB Barcelona in the PCB, from where he will continue leading projects to study the molecular bases of the cell response towards changes in their environment and the impact on diseases such as cancer of inflammatory processes. His laboratory is expected to be running by the end of summer.

Francesc Posas career

Francesc Posas (Sant Feliu de Codines, Barcelona, 1968) got his PhD on Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona in 1995 and left to Harvard University (United States) as a postdoctoral researcher until 1998. He has been at Pompeu Fabra University since 1999.

He is professor from the Department of Experimental and Health Sciences, which he led during six years (2007-2013). He then was appointed vice-rector for science policy (2013-2015) and Commissioner for Scientific Strategy. Since 1999, he has led –together with Dr Eulàlia de Nadal- the Cell Signalling Research Group, which is formed by twenty people. Posas has published more than 100 scientific articles, some of them in internationally distinguished journals such as Nature, Science and Cell. Projects from this research group have received national and international funding from the European Research Council (ERC), Plan Nacional (MINECO), Generalitat de Catalunya, European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO), European Union (FP6 and FP7) and the European Science Foundation-EURYI, among others. His laboratory also receives support from the Botín Foundation.

He has received numerous awards over his career, such as the Young Researchers Award by Generalitat de Catalunya (2001) and the EMBO program Young Investigator (2000). Appointed EMBO member in 2006, he was awarded ICREA Academia researcher for two periods (2009-2013 and 2014-2018) and was awarded the “Carmen y Severo Ochoa” award on molecular biology research in 2011.  


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