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Awards of Board of Trustees of the UB and Bosch i Gimpera Foundation to research and transfer knowledge

Group photo of the awardees with the rector of the UB, Joan Elias, the president of the Board of Trustees, Joan Corominas, and the director of Bosch i Gimpera Foundation, Carme Verdager.

Group photo of the awardees with the rector of the UB, Joan Elias, the president of the Board of Trustees, Joan Corominas, and the director of Bosch i Gimpera Foundation, Carme Verdager.

Award ceremony.

Award ceremony.

José Miguel Vela, director of Drug Discovery and Preclinical Development in Esteve, during his speech.

José Miguel Vela, director of Drug Discovery and Preclinical Development in Esteve, during his speech.

12/12/2019

Institucional

On Wednesday, December 11, the Aula Magna of the Historical Building held the ceremony for the Board of Trustees and Bosch i Gimpera Awards. The ceremony, presided by the rector of the University of Barcelona, Joan Elias, included the talk by José Miguel Vela, director of Drug Discovery & Pre-clinical Development in Esteve, who received the UB award on collaboration in research projects, development and innovation.

The rector of the UB, the president of the Board of Trustees, Joan Corominas, and the director of Bosch i Gimpera Foundation, Carme Verdaguer, gave the awards to this year’s awardees. The José Manuel Blecua Prize, given to the top article published in a distinguished journal in the field of human and social sciences derived from a doctoral thesis, was awarded to Maya’s Aghaei research, in the field of artificial intelligence and specifically computer vision. Maya Aghaei set the necessary algorithms for computers to analyse the images that are taken over the day by a small camera which is carried by someone so that they can count the social interactions s/he has had. The field work of this study was carried out with nine people who had a camera with themselves for a period of non-consecutive hundred days, so that each of them could get 100,000 images. In the doctoral thesis, supervised by Petia Ivanova Radeva, professor at the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, and Mariella Dimiccoli, from the Institut de Robòtica i Informàtica Industrial (CSIC-UPC), Aghaei conducts the study in a way that it becomes a useful tool in the field of psychology, to study cases of depression or for treatment of people with mild cognitive impairment.

The research study by Marc Schneeberger on neuronal processes related to obesity was awarded the Ramon Margalef Prize to the top research study published in a distinguished journal in the field of experimental sciences and health derived from a doctoral thesis. Schneeberger’s study led to his doctoral thesis, supervised by Marc Claret, head of the Neuronal Metabolism Control Research Group in IDIBAPS, and co-supervised by Professor Ramon Gomis, from the Department of Medicine of the UB, and an article in the cover of Cell: “Mitofusin-2 in POMC neurons connects ER stress with leptin resistance”. The study focuses on how alterations in the levels of mitofusin-2 affect the functioning of POMC neurons in the hypothalamus, and how this ends up modifying the feeling of being hungry. After his doctoral thesis, Schneeberger moved to the Rockefeller University of New York, in the laboratory of Professor Jeffrey M Friedman, where he has worked since 2015 on neuronal populations that regulate food intake. His task in the United States led to the publication of two more articles in Cell, 2017 and in 2019, as first signer.

Antoni Caparrós Prize to the top project on knowledge transfer was given to RisCanvi, designed to prevent violent crimes and violence in prison. This is a technology developed by the Group of Advanced Studies on Violence (GEAV) of the UB, led by Professor Antonio Andrés Pueyo, who has worked for prison centers of the Catalan Government since 2009. The program is the first prison management tool to have been carried out and applied in the professional field in Spain and which aims to prevent and manage the risk of violent behaviour in prisons. Since the program was set, in 2009, there have been more than 30,000 evaluations and RisCanvi became one of the cores of preventive management and rehabilitation and penitential policies in the Catalan Government, improving processes such as giving permits or restrictive and rehabilitator actions (probation, etc.).

The Antoni Caparrós Prize was awarded to the twenty-five years of collaboration between the company Talleres Mecánicos Comas (TMComas) and the University of Barcelona, in particular with the Thermal Projection Center (CPT). This university-company bond enabled this studio from the sector of precision mechanics to become a relevant actor in the field of new materials and surface engineering at a national, state and European scale. The collaboration was materialized in more than twenty different projects, which enabled the company to diversify their offering of services and products in the field of surface engineering and take the way to the production of new materials and products.

Nostrum Biodiscovery (NBD) was awarded the Senén Vilaró Prize to the top innovative company thanks to its innovative technology to speed up the design of new drugs. This is a spin-off from the University of Barcelona, created in 2016. To help pharmaceutical and biotechnological companies in the process of discovery and development of drugs and enzyme engineering. The company’s competitive benefit is based on computational technologies -carried out by Modesto Orozco, professor at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biomedicine of the UB and group leader in the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) and Víctor Guallar, researcher from the Barcelona Supercomputing Center, together with their teams in IRB Barcelona and BSC, and the support from Bosch i Gimpera Foundation of the UB, the Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA) and Marcelino Botín Foundation. Both are founding partners of Nostrum Biodiscovery together with Robert Soliva.

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