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Lecturers Martí Docastella and Roger Canals, awarded two European Research Council Consolidator Grants

The new edition of these ERC grants has awarded a total of 327 awardees from 23 European countries.

The new edition of these ERC grants has awarded a total of 327 awardees from 23 European countries.

Martí Duocastella, Serra Hunter tenure track-1 lecturer at the Department of Applied Physics of the University of Barcelona.

Martí Duocastella, Serra Hunter tenure track-1 lecturer at the Department of Applied Physics of the University of Barcelona.

Roger Canals is a tenure track-2 lecturer at the Department of Social Anthropology at the Faculty of Geography and History.

Roger Canals is a tenure track-2 lecturer at the Department of Social Anthropology at the Faculty of Geography and History.

09/12/2020

Recerca

UB researchers Martí Duocastella, from the Faculty of Physics, and Roger Canals, from the Faculty of Geography and History, have been awarded two European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grants, framed within the 2020 call. The new edition of these ERC grants, part of the European Commission Horizon 2020, has awarded a total of 327 awardees –22 in Spain– from 23 European countries.

The new edition of these ERC grants, part of the European Commission Horizon 2020, has awarded a total of 327 awardees –22 in Spain– from 23 European countries. In this edition, which has an amount of 655 milion euros, the 37% of the grants have awarded female researchers, the highest percentage since the call for Consolidator Grants started. The research projects funded in the framework of this call cover a wide range of themes within the disciplines of physics and engineering, life sciences and social and human sciences. According to professor Jean-Pierre Bourguinon, president of ERC, “this funding not only empowers bright minds from across Europe to pursue their most ambitious ideas at a critical stage of their careers, but also helps train the youngest generation of researchers as members of their ERC teams. To prepare for the challenges of tomorrow, Europe must stick to the vision of investing in frontier research, which has proved time and again its crucial added value”.

New optical and photonic technologies with applications in medicine and biology

Martí Duocastella, Serra Hunter tenure track-1 lecturer at the Department of Applied Physics member of the Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology of the UB (IN2UB), receives this ERC grant for his project Ultrasonic Endoscopes for DEEP Light Focusing (DEEP).

With a PhD from the UB and expert on optics and photonics, Duocastella has also developed his research activity at Princeton University (United States) and the Italian Institute of Technology (Italy) and has been the R&D vice-president of the American company TAG Optics Inc since its creation in 2011 until 2014. Duocastella focused his research activity on the study of innovative optical methods for the three-dimensional control of light, a research line with potential applications in materials science, biology and medicine. He has participated in more than 50 science articles published in prestigious journals and four patents, as well as several book chapters.

The aim of the project led by Duocastella is to develop a new non-invasive technology to focalize light in the living tissue on real time and with subcellular resolution. With high-penetration of ultrasound and its ability to locally modify the properties of a biological sample, the goal is to create virtual endoscopes directly inside the tissue to act as lenses or wave guides to redirect the light towards a deeper focus. Synergy between light and ultrasound will enable a control with no precedents of the light waves inside the living systems and will shed light on transformative advances in fields such as customized medicine or molecular biology.

Image anthropology, misinformation and visual deception

Roger Canals is a tenure track-2 lecturer at the Department of Social Anthropology at the Faculty of Geography and History, and he coordinates the Master’s degree in Anthropology and Ethnography of the UB. Expert on visual anthropology and Afro-American religions, he is a ember of the Research Group on Indigenous and Afro-American Cultures (CINAF) and his research activities is characterized by articulating the anthropologic reflection on the images with the use of cinema as a tool for ethnographic research.

Graduated in Philosophy at the UB, Canals made his doctoral work at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences in Paris (EHESS) –in co-supervision with the UB– on the analysis of the role and meaning of the cult to María Lionza, an ordinairy religious practice from Venezuela. He is the author of the book A Goddess in Motion. Visual Creativity in the Cult of María Lionza (Berghahn Books, 2017) and many articles published in several languages in journals such as Ethnos, L’Homme, RDTP, Visual Studies and Compàs d’Amalgama. He has been invited researcher at the University of Toronto (Canada) and the Institute of Caribbean Studies and EHESS. Coordinator of the IVAC Group (Anthropology, Image and Visual Culture), he collaborates in Filmoteca de Catalunya and the Museum of World Cultures, and has produced ethnographic films such as Bea vol saber (2010), L’home que estimava els llibres (2015), Una deessa en moviment (2016), and Chasing Shadows (2019), produced by the University of Oxford.

Roger Canals will lead the VISUAL TRUST project. Reliability, accountability and forgery in scientific, religious and social images, an initiative that questions the (un)trusting relationships we maintain with images in contemporary society. From a comparative and multi-situated perspective, the project analyses through visual ethnography -especially cinema and photography- the way in which people from different countries and social groups interact with scientific, religious and images of current affairs. This research will lead to different written works (articles and books) as well as several films and an exhibition project.

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