EMBL to open new site in Barcelona

The internal structure of a mouse pancreas, imaged with a SPIM microscope like those that will be used at EMBL Barcelona. IMAGE: Ahlgren, Mayer & Swoger/CRG

print

Spanish government and EMBL sign agreement for new site dedicated to tissue biology and disease modelling

At a ceremony in Barcelona today, EMBL and the Spanish government, represented by the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness (MINECO), signed an agreement for a new EMBL site to be hosted in the city. Also present were the Catalan Government, represented by the Ministry of Business and Knowledge, and the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), which have supported this initiative from the very beginning. EMBL Barcelona will be located on the campus of the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB), and researchers at the site will explore how tissues and organs function and develop, and how preventing failures in those processes may help to tackle disease. Alongside cutting-edge research, the site will house state-of-the-art imaging facilities, making pioneering technologies available to scientists worldwide.

“Tissue biology and disease modelling is an exciting field, where we expect breakthroughs in fundamental research and also in terms of future medical applications. EMBL Barcelona will be in a unique position to lead those advances,” says EMBL Director General Iain Mattaj. “The site will be one of the few places in the world where scientists can access state-of-the-art microscopy and modelling technologies specifically designed for studying tissues.”

EMBL Barcelona will be in a unique position to lead those advances (in tissue biology and disease modelling)

Scientists at EMBL Barcelona will tackle key challenges around human health. Many health issues like cancer, diseases of the immune system and birth defects involve flaws in how cells arrange themselves and interact at the tissue level. Research in tissue biology raises the exciting prospect of being able to control, make and heal tissues and organs – approaches that could provide new means of treating such conditions.

“This agreement to host EMBL in Barcelona is testament to the Spanish government’s commitment to support excellent science and to capitalise on the rapid development of internationally competitive biomedical research,” says Luis de Guindos, Spanish Minister of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness. “It reflects our ambition to place Spain at the forefront of research in the life sciences.”

Researchers at EMBL’s new site will work in a highly collaborative, interdisciplinary and international environment, benefiting from the institute’s long-lasting relationship with the CRG, an international biomedical research institute based at the PRBB, and the close collaboration with other institutes on campus, as well as opportunities across EMBL sites and with other partners throughout Europe and beyond.

This agreement to host EMBL in Barcelona is testament to the Spanish government’s commitment to support excellent science

“At CRG we have a partnership with EMBL since 2006, and we’ve already made significant discoveries as a result of our collaboration,” says Luis Serrano, Director of CRG. “This will continue in the future, and we will strengthen those links further now that EMBL will be physically present on site.”

“Hosting EMBL in Barcelona represents a landmark achievement in Catalonia’s ambitious and successful R&D programme. The PRBB campus and the region host a vibrant community, conducting pioneering science, so this is the perfect setting for EMBL’s new site,” says Jordi Baiget, Minister of Business and Knowledge of the Catalan Government and President of the CRG Board of Trustees.

EMBL is an intergovernmental organization supported by more than 20 member states. The first new EMBL site to be established in almost 20 years, EMBL Barcelona will be the institute’s 6th site – after Heidelberg (Germany), Hamburg (Germany), Grenoble (France), Hinxton (UK) and Monterotondo (Italy). It is expected to begin operations in autumn 2017.