Dr. Joan Comella, new director of the Institut de Recerca Sant Joan de Déu

Research groups of the Institute Institute of Neurosciences participate in the “Institut de Recerca Sant Joan de Déu”, which became CERCA institute in 2020.

The Governing Council​​​​​​​ of the Institute de Recerca Sant Joan de Déu (IRSJD) has appointed Dr. Joan Comella as director of the institute. Comella, director of Innovation, Research and Knowledge Management at the SJD Barcelona Children’s Hospital, replaces Dr. Francesc Palau, the first director of the IRSJD.

“I am honored to take on this significant responsibility and challenge as the new director of the Institut de Recerca Sant Joan de Déu. I am proud to follow in the footsteps of the excellent work accomplished so far and I am eager to contribute to the growth of this esteemed institution. My focus will be to broaden its international reach and ensure that our research makes a tangible impact in diagnosing and treating patients’ illnesses”.

Dr Joan Comella holds a degree in Medicine and Surgery and a PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Barcelona. From September 2009 to September 2022 he has directed the Institut de Recerca de l’Hospital Vall d’Hebron (VHIR), and has been the head of research at the Campus Hospitalari de Vall d’Hebron.

Dr Comella launched his professional career in 1991 as a researcher at the University of Lleida, where he founded and directed the Cell Signaling and Apoptosis research group. Throughout his career, he has focused on investigating the pathological mechanisms behind degenerative nervous system diseases and identifying new treatment targets.

He has extensive experience in research management, having served as Vice-Rector of Research at the Universitat de Lleida, Director of the Agencia Nacional de Evaluación y Prospectiva de la Investigación (ANEP), the Fundación Española para la Ciencia y la Tecnología (FECYT), and the Fundació Catalana per a la Recerca i la Innovació (FCRI). He has also held various leadership positions in research-related societies, foundations, and associations in Catalonia, Spain, and Europe.

As a teacher, Dr Comella serves as Professor of Cell Biology at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, where he focuses on graduate and postgraduate education and supervising doctoral theses.

The new leadership faces the challenge of maintaining and advancing the pursuit of global excellence with a tangible impact on enhancing the diagnosis and treatment of diseases in our field. This requires providing the institute with adequate infrastructure and equipment, as well as fostering the development and recruitment of skilled professionals and dedicated research time for healthcare workers.

We extend our heartfelt thanks to Dr. Francesc Palau for his outstanding leadership and unwavering dedication as the Director of the IRSJD. His visionary approach and tireless efforts have played a crucial role in the growth and success of the institution. Thank you for your commitment and all the hard work.

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