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IRB Barcelona

Baldiri Reizac 10 (08028, Barcelona)

big data, cancer, covid-19, embryonic development, diabetes, gene editing, cardiovascular diseases, rare diseases, ageing, supercomputing
Nahia Barbería
Head of press and communication

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SMC participants

Head of the Biomedical Cancer Genomics group at IRB Barcelona, ICREA research professor at IRB Barcelona and associate professor at Pompeu Fabra University

ICREA research professor and head of the Comparative Genomics group at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) and the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC-CNS).

Contents related to this centre

An opinion piece signed by researchers from the Universities of Aberdeen and Nottingham (UK) has outlined some of the inaccuracies, exaggerations and misconceptions they say are taking place around research on the human microbiome. Some of these are curiosities, like the false belief that we have ten bacteria for every human cell. Others are more relevant, such as the fact that many specific associations between the microbiome and disease have not been confirmed in follow-up studies. According to the authors, it is important to raise awareness about myths and misconceptions to avoid unproductive research projects and preserve public confidence in microbiome science. The article is published in the journal Nature Microbiology.

trasplante heces

Faecal microbiota transplantation can be administered by oral capsules, colonoscopy or rectal enema, among other routes. Two meta-analyses evaluate its benefits and side effects for treating two types of disease. The first focuses on recurrent infections with Clostridioides difficile, a bacterium that can cause very severe diarrhoea; it includes six studies in Europe and North America involving 320 adults and concludes that in immunocompetent people, faecal transplantation is more effective than antibiotics. The second focuses on irritable bowel diseases, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease; it includes 12 studies with 550 participants and has less clear results.


Two studies have found changes in the microbiome of patients affected by chronic fatigue syndrome. In particular, they have found a decrease in both butyrate and certain bacteria that produce butyrate. Butyrate is a factor related to the protection of the intestinal barrier and appears to play a role in the regulation of the immune system. Both papers are published in the journal Cell Host and Microbe.


An international team including researchers from Spain has analysed the level of exchange of microbial strains between different generations (vertical transmission) and between people who share a household or are close contacts (horizontal transmission). The analysis, published in the journal Nature, is based on about 9,700 microbiome samples from the faeces and saliva of people with different lifestyles from countries. According to the research, the transmission of bacteria is more frequent for the mouth microbiome than for the gut microbiome among people living together.   


A metagenomic comparison of the infant gut microbiome of industrialised and non-industrialised populations reveals robust differences that researchers say are lifestyle-dependent. The research involved samples from infants of Hadza, a group of modern hunter-gatherers living in Tanzania, and is published in the journal Science.

Ilustración 3D de un grupo de células cancerosas. / Adobe Stock

Whole genome analysis of more than 12,000 tumors has identified new patterns of mutations associated with specific cancers. These combinations generate specific mutational signatures, the study of which provides information on environmental factors causing the mutations. The work is published in Science.