Scientific Advisory Board meeting

One year after the achievement of the María de Maeztu Excellence award, it’s time to look back and evaluate the actions taken in 2019 to strengthen the strategy of the Institute. During this year we have bet on young talent to help them become the researchers of the future. We have developed new strategies to increase international projects and to promote synergies within the Institute. We have improved our scientific outputs and kept up with the high level of European research. We have further engaged with the public and strengthened our presence in society.  

All these actions were reviewed at the Annual Scientific Advisory Board meeting of the Institute of Neurosciences of the University of Barcelona that took place last 13 – 15 of November. The aim of this meeting was to discuss and plan the strategy of the Institute to ensure growth and scientific excellence. 

Opening the event, the Vice-Rector for research Domènec Espriu Climent welcomed the SAB members and the Steering Committee. The Vice-Rector highlighted that science and technology will continue advancing rapidly and pointed out that in Catalonia there is a highly competitive landscape for research. This set the tone for the meeting. On the first day, director Jordi Alberch exposed the current status of the Institute and the proposed strategy for 2020. This was followed by a presentation of the research strategy by Cristina Pulido, including recruiting and international projects. The first day ended with a presentation of the communication and outreach results of the year by Laia Tremosa. 

The second day started with presentations of the different research areas of the Institute. Steering Committee member Georgina Guilera presented the current state of the Mental Health area. Researchers Guillem Feixas, from the Interventions in Clinical and Health Psychology group, and Gisela Mezquida, from the Clinic Schizophrenia group presented the last research highlights of their respective groups, and their vision for the future. Following these presentations, Yaroslau Compta showed the progress of the Experimental Neurology area during 2019. Bàrbara Segura, from the Neuropsychology – Neuroimaging in Degenerative Disorders, and Raquel Sánchez, from the Alzheimer’s Disease and other Cognitive Disorders group, revealed the latest advancements of their respective groups. At the end of the day, Josep Marco presented the highlights of the Cognitive and Behavioural Neuroscience area. Within this area, Laura Bosch, from the  Attention, Perception and Acquisition of Language group, Lluís Fuentemilla, from the Brainvitge – Dynamics of Demory Formation group, Maria Mataró, from the Neuropsychology – Healthy Aging and Cerebrovascular Disease group and Mel Slater, from the Event Lab revealed their principal research lines, scientific output and projections for the future. 

The third day started with Mercé Pallas presenting an overview of the Pathophysiology of the Nervous System area.  Representing the area, researchers Albert Giralt, from the Hippocampal Function in Health and Disease group, Artur Llobet, from the Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology – Synaptic Transmission group, Josep M. Canals, from the Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine group, and Raúl Estévez, from the Physiology and Pathology of the Glia-Neuron Funcional Relationship presented their research highlights of 2019 and their plans for 2020. 

After all the presentations, the SAB got together to deliberate and discuss all the information provided. Finally, a group discussion about the opportunities for the Institute took place. Over the course of the meeting, members developed a roadmap for the next year, to improve and strengthen the strategy of the Institute to ensure that we keep pushing the boundaries of neuroscience research.  

As a result of the meeting, the SAB will write a report stating the actual state of the Institute and recommendations for the following years. 

External Scientific Advisory Board: 

Kimmo Alho from the University of Helsinki, Finland  

Ernest Arenas from the Karolinska Institute, Sweden  

Mercedes Atienza from the Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Spain  

 Carmen Sandi from the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Switzerland  

Frederic Saudou from the Institute of Neuroscience, University Grenoble-Alps, France 

Board of Directors: 

Jordi Alberch  

Xavier Gasull 

Steering Committee: 

 Josep Marco (Department of Cognition, Development and Educational Psychology) 

 Maria Angels Jurado (Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychobiology) 

Georgina Guilera (Department of Social Psychology and Quantitative Psychology) 

Raul Estévez (Department of Physiological Sciences) 

Mercè Pallas Lliberia (Department of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Therapeutic Chemistry) 

Yaroslau Compta (Department of Biomedicine, Clinical Neurology)