Alba Ortega to represent the UB in the finals of the ”4-minute Thesis“ contest

With the presentation of her thesis on adult neurogenesis, Alba Ortega, doctoral student at the Faculty of Biology and the Institute of Neurosciences of the UB, will represent the University of Barcelona in the finals of the “4-minute Thesis” contest, organized by the Catalan Foundation for Research and Innovation (FCRi). This decision has been made by the jury that was appointed by the Doctoral School, this morning, in an event where seven doctoral students explained their research for four minutes, using a simple and understandable language for a general audience.

The awarded project focuses on the study of adult neurogenesis, a character process that determines the formation of neurons in the central nervous system using stem cells from neurogenic regions. In this process, several internal multiple factors take part, such as the neural cell adhesion molecule 2 (Ncam2), a glycoprotein from the Ncam family. A better knowledge on the mechanisms of adult neurogenesis will certainly contribute to the promotion of advances in the field of cognitive learning, memory and the fight against neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.


Joan Guàrdia, who presided the ceremony, congratulated the PhD students for their courage and confessed that the first time he was part of the jury in this contest, he tried to explain his thesis in four minutes: “I could not do it. Therefore, my deep admiration goes to all of you and I wish you luck”. The vice-rector for Doctoral Studies and First Stage Researchers, Maria Feliu, presented the jury and explained how the event works. Then, the director of the Doctoral School, Màrius Domínguez, gave way to each of the seven participants that attended the finals.

The PhD students Oriol Esquivas, Anna Grañana, Danial Jahanidargahi, Alba Ortega, David Pino, Joan Sala and Hernán Sampietro explained their theses in a maximum of four minutes using a simple and understandable language for an audience without previous knowledge of the field, as requested by the contest.

When the presentations ended, the jury ─formed by Gemma Marfany, rector’s delegate for Scientific Dissemination; Carles Mancho, coordinator of the doctoral degree on Medieval Cultures; Inés Fernández, coordinator of the doctoral degree on Engineering and Applied Sciences; Neus Agell, vice-dean for Research at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, and Raúl Ramos, vice-dean of the Faculty of Economics and Business ─stepped out to decide.

After some minutes, Gemma Marfany made the jury’s decision public. First, she announced the name of the semi-finalist, Anna Grañana, student of the doctoral program on Law and Political Science, who presented her thesis on the support measures for decision-making for people with disabilities. Moreover, this doctoral student will represent the UB in another contest, CRUE’s #HiloTesis.

Then, the jury announced the name of the winner, Alba Ortega, who will represent the UB in the finals with the presentation “Podem fabricar neurones tota la vida?” (Can we make neurons for life?), “It was not easy, given everyone’s high level. If it were up to us, all of you would be the winners”, noted Marfany, who congratulated the participants for their great communication potential. “Scientific dissemination is crucial, because we must bring society closer to the research carried out at the UB, which is comprehensive and diverse. This is why I encourage you to continue with dissemination, because you have disseminating skills”, concluded Marfany.

In the finals of the Catalan Foundation for Research and Innovation, Alba Ortega aims for three prizes to the top presentations, a first prize of 3,000 euros, a second prize of 2,000 euros, and a third prize of 1,000 euros.