University of Barcelona

Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 585

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
Ester Colominas
Head of Institutional Communication Unit

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SMC participants

Professor of Preventive Medicine and Public Health at the University of Barcelona and member of the Spanish Society of Epidemiology

Professor of Microbiology, University of Barcelona

Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience

Brainlab, Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychobiology, University of Barcelona (UB).

UB Institute of Neuroscience

Sant Joan de Déu Research Institute

ICREA research professor and leader of the QSBio research group at the University of Barcelona

Deputy Head of the Tobacco Control Unit at the Catalan Institute of Oncology and lecturer in the Department of Nursing, Public Health, Mental Health and Maternal and Child Health at the University of Barcelona

Director of the BCNatal maternal-fetal medicine center (Hospital Clínic-Sant Joan de Déu) and professor at the University of Barcelona.

Scientific Director of the Centre for Biomedical Research in Mental Health Network (CIBERSAM). Head of the Psychiatry and Psychology Department at the Hospital Clínic de Barcelona and lecturer at the University of Barcelona

Professor at the department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biomedicine of the University of Barcelona. Principal Investigator IBUB and CIBEROBN.

Full Professor at the GRC Marine Geosciences, Department of Earth and Ocean Dynamics, University of Barcelona

Professor of Genetics at the Universitat de Barcelona (UB) and head of group at CIBERER

Contents related to this centre

Hurler syndrome is a rare and very serious disease caused by an enzyme deficiency, which results in a wide variety of signs and symptoms. Treatment with bone marrow transplantation helps to alleviate some of them, but has little effect on skeletal disorders. Now, a phase I/II trial has tested an autologous transplant of blood stem cells corrected by gene therapy in eight patients. The results, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, suggest that the treatment is more effective and could also improve these types of disorders. 

Inter-territorial Council

This Friday, the Interterritorial Council of the National Health System approved the Comprehensive Plan for the Prevention and Control of Smoking (PIT). The document, which incorporates 147 proposals from the autonomous communities, has not achieved consensus among all of them.


10 % of people are left-handed, which occurs when the right cerebral hemisphere is more dominant for the control of that hand - whereas it is the left hemisphere in the case of right-handed people. To investigate the genetic basis of this laterality, scientists in the Netherlands have analysed genome data from 350,000 people in the UK biobank for rare genetic variants associated with this phenomenon. The heritability of left-handedness due to rare coding variants was low, at less than 1%. The research, published in Nature Communications, suggests that one gene - TUBB4B - is 2.7 times more likely to contain rare coding variants in left-handed people. 


Chimpanzees can learn a new skill by observing each other — a phenomenon known as social learning — according to a study published in Nature Human Behaviour. The findings suggest that chimpanzees may have the capacity for cumulative cultural evolution, which was previously considered to be an exclusively human trait.


Researchers have described five cases of people in the UK who developed Alzheimer's-like dementia after being treated as children with growth hormone from cadavers. The treatment was administered between 60 and 40 years ago. This suggests that the disease could be transmitted. However, the authors point out that this is a very rare occurrence and could have been caused by repeated exposure to a type of hormone that is no longer used. The results are published in the journal Nature Medicine.

elderly couple

Indicators of human longevity are on an upward trend in five groups of countries around the world, and the gap between women and men is narrowing, according to a study published in PLoS ONE. The gender gap in life expectancy resulting from the harmful effect of men's blue-collar jobs will shrink, but will persist in the future because men have a higher risk of certain diseases, the authors write. The research team, which includes scientists from the universities of Alcalá́, Barcelona, Oxford and London (UK), uses data and projections for 194 countries from 1990 to 2030.


Babies' brains specialise in their native language from pregnancy, according to a study carried out in France. The research team used encephalograms to measure the brain activity of 33 infants born to French-speaking mothers while listening to a story in French, English or Spanish. The results provide "the most compelling evidence to date that language experience already shapes the functional organization of the infant brain, even before birth," the authors write in Science Advances.


The absence of visits from friends and family is associated with a higher mortality rate, according to an analysis of data from more than 450,000 people followed for more than a decade in the UK. The study, published in BMC Medicine, focussed on five indicators of loneliness, and concluded that having no visits from family or friends was associated with higher all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease mortality. According to the authors, this kind of study helps to identify at-risk populations and measures of social connectedness that could provide the most benefit.


Researchers at Northwestern University in the United States have studied the effect of a temporary decrease in sleep on the mood of mice. According to their results, the animals became more hyperactive and hypersexual for a few hours. In addition, the occasional lack of sleep had an antidepressant effect that lasted for a few days and is explained by an increase in the release of dopamine. The results are published in the journal Neuron.


A US study measures the risk of breast cancer overdiagnosis in screening campaigns for women over 70. These are women who are misdiagnosed with cancer after a mammogram, leading to unnecessary treatments that can cause complications, anxiety and financial costs. The study includes more than 54,000 women over the age of 70 who have had a screening mammogram. The retrospective analysis compares the cumulative incidence of breast cancer between two groups: women who continued screening up to 15 years later, and women who did not. The research estimates that 31% of breast cancer cases in women aged 70-74 result from overdiagnosis: it finds 6.1 cases per 100 women who had continued screening, compared with 4.2 cases per 100 women in the second group. The percentage of overdiagnosis increases with the age of the women. The article is published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, along with an editorial.