Research for Independence, a sector of the National Catalan Assembly, was born almost a year ago with the intention of bringing together different groups dedicated to research, from researchers to technicians, managers and students, to show our support for the independence of Catalonia, as well as the advantages of having our own state in contrast to the detriment that would cause to research to remain tied to Spain. Currently, we already have over 300 people who have expressed interest in our sector, and collaborate with it in many different ways.
The European Research Council has granted an innovative research in the health area led by Pau Gorostiza of the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia. One of the main goals of current therapy is to reduce the side effects of drugs, especially to prevent the treatments led to an organ or body part can harm the rest of the body.
The European Research Council (ERC) has selected 287 top scientists in its sixth Starting Grant competition. Starting grants aim to support young investigators who are about to establish a proper research team and to start conducting independent research in Europe. In 2013, 6 of these grants are for catalan research groups. According to number of grants per million inhabitants, Catalonia is in the 9th position of 19 countries, while Spain without Catalonia (8 grants) is in the 16th position. Grants worth up to €2 million each, and cover a wide range of topics, in the areas of Physical Sciences and engineering, Life sciences and Social sciences and Humanities.
The research group led by Dr. Francesc Villarroya, from the University of Barcelona, has shown, in a study performed in rodents, that the hormone FGF21 has a protective function against cardiac hypertrophy. The study, published last June in Nature Communications, shows that the lack of FGF21 is associated to cardiac dysfunction, while treatment with this hormone reverses these alterations in mice. FGF21is produced in the heart and it is released to protect cardiac cells against hypertrophic insults. These results open new avenues in the investigation on the prevention and treatment of cardiac diseases.
The CERCA Institute is the Government of Catalonia’s technical service and its means for supervising, supporting and facilitating the activities of the research centres in the CERCA system.