Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Autonomous University of Barcelona

Rectorado (Edificio A) Campus de la UAB – 08193 Bellaterra (Cerdanyola del Vallès)

addictions, Alzheimer's, Antarctica / Arctic, astrobiology, astrophysics, big data, bioethics, climate change, cancer, behavioural sciences, natural sciences, climate, quantum computing, pollution, covid-19, embryonic development, diabetes, gene editing, education, energy, cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, rare diseases, ageing, epidemiology, STDs, physics, immunology, language, mathematics, microbiology, nanoscience, neuroscience, new materials, oceanography, palaeontology, chemistry, robotics, mental health, AIDS / HIV, sociology, supercomputing, transgenics
Miguel Ángel Linares Capel
Responsible for the Communication Unit

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SMC participants

Member of the Water and Global Change Research Group at the Centre for Research in Ecology and Forestry Applications (CREAF), at the Autonomous University of Barcelona

Professor of Ecology at the Autonomous University of Barcelona and CREAF researcher

Senior researcher at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA-UAB) of the Autonomous University of Barcelona

Professor of Psychobiology at the Institute of Neurosciences of the Autonomous University of Barcelona

Coordinator of the Neuro-oncology Unit of the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL) and researcher of the Neuroplasticity and Regeneration Group of the Autonomous University of Barcelona

Juan de la Cierva researcher in the Department of Geology at the Autonomous University of Barcelona

Head of the Laboratory of Gene Therapy in Neurodegenerative Diseases of the VHIR-UAB Mixed Unit

Researcher at the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM), professor of public health at the Autonomous University of Barcelona and author of the book Epidemiología cercana

Psychologist and ICREA Research Professor at Autonomous University of Barcelona

Contents related to this centre

Research published a few days ago in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) found a considerable and hitherto unknown degree of micro- and nanoplastic contamination in human arteries. It was a bit of a surprise that NEJM accepted the paper, as it usually publishes little on the environmental causes of human disease. The good thing is that the publication makes visible, legitimises, stirs up and will encourage other similar work.


Eating more ultra-processed foods is linked to a higher risk of health problems, according to an umbrella review of 45 previous meta-analyses, involving almost 10 million people in total. The research, published in The BMJ, finds direct associations between exposure to ultra-processed foods and 32 health parameters. The strongest evidence links this exposure to cardiometabolic health problems, mental disorders and overall mortality.


Access to safe public spaces to meet, employment, education and public health are some of the main measures recommended to make cities more friendly to the mental health of young people and adolescents. The analysis, based on surveys of 518 people in several countries, is published in the journal Nature and is intended to serve as a guide for urban planning policies that reduce inequalities and take into account the needs of young people.


Early-life adversity, such as separation from the mother, can alter the neurological functioning of mice, causing some to experience panic and anxiety later in life. A study shows that these changes can be passed on for at least two generations and that inhalation of a drug, the diuretic amiloride, can reverse them. According to the authors, this treatment could be used in the future to alleviate panic disorders and related conditions in humans. The results are published in the journal Science Advances.


With the prolonged meteorological drought we find ourselves in, we are focusing too much on climate as its cause, while there is a lack of debate about the real problem: chronic water demand. It is necessary to rethink consumption models with all the actors of society and the competent administrations. A future adapted to climate change must address drought by prioritizing the restoration of our water systems and questioning the current development model.

Bacteriophage virus

A team of scientists led by the Catholic University of America in Washington has designed new artificial vectors based on viruses to improve gene therapy processes. The main novelty is that they are constructed from viruses that infect bacteria. Among other advantages, this would make it possible to avoid the possible memory of our defences against them and have a greater capacity. According to the authors, who publish their results in the journal Nature Communications, these nanoparticles "have the potential to transform gene therapies and personalised medicine".


The time adolescents spend on social media is one of the least influential factors for their mental health, according to a study published in Nature Mental Health. The analysis attempts to untangle the complex web of risk factors and protective factors, using data from more than 12,000 young people in the UK. Among the factors studied, it concludes that bullying, lack of family support and school work dissatisfaction are more influential than time spent on social media. According to the study, life dissatisfaction and lack of family support are the most influential factors for girls and boys, respectively. 


A drug in gel form cured 100 percent of mice with a very aggressive brain tumor. The authors hope that this is a first step towards helping human patients with glioblastoma, one of the most dangerous brain tumors in humans. The article is published today in PNAS.


Beta-blockers (β-blockers) are drugs to treat heart conditions that are also used for anxiety. According to research published in PLOS Medicine, periods of treatment with these drugs are associated with a lower risk of being charged by the police with a violent crime - a 13% lower risk than periods without treatment. The research, which included nearly 1.5 million people in Sweden between 2006 and 2013, does not support the use of these drugs to treat anxiety.


Constant checking of social media activity in early adolescence is associated with changes in the brain's sensitivity to rewards and punishments. This is the conclusion of a study involving 169 12- and 13-year-old students in the United States with Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat profiles, according to JAMA Pediatrics.