University of Barcelona

Description of organisationlogo ub

The University of Barcelona (UB) is one of the highest-ranking Spanish universities in the main international research league tables. The UB is a funding member of the Institute of Biomedicine Agustí Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS) together with Hospital Clínic of Barcelona (HCPB).


During the last 25 years, UB -IDIBAPS and HCPB have merged capabilities to multiply excellence and been successfully and strongly cooperating to encourage translational research, innovation and technological progress in the field of biomedicine. Moreover, the UB is also the coordinator of the Reference Network of R+D+i on Theoretical and Computational Chemistry that brings together research teams all along Catalonia working on mathematical modelling applied to experimental sciences and biomedical research. Mathematical modelling and its applications to biomedicine is one of the core programmes in University of Barcelona.


The UB has two biomedical campus and eleven research institutes which activity is mainly devoted to Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), modelling and biomedical data generation. It is of note that more than 70% of UB research activity is going to these areas of research. Consequently, biomedical research is a mainstream area at UB with special translational focus which delineates a favourable scenario to facilitate a transition from Systems Biology to Systems Medicine an the take up of predictive medicine. Two main nodes articulate research in the area of ICT modelling and biomedical data analytics: The BKC Barcelona Knowledge Campus (Diagonal Campus) and The Health Universitat of Barcelona Campus (HUBc). Both have been selected as Campus of International excellence and are pivotal in the interaction of UB biomedical researchers and leading hospitals and research institutes in the field of health.



Provile of staff members

Marta Cascante is Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Barcelona and head of Integrative Systems Biology research team. Research interests focus on cancer and metabolic diseases with the goal of elucidating the networks and pathways that are fundamental in their development and progression. More specifically, she uses a systems biology approach to identify key proteins in the metabolic reprogramming underlying multifactorial diseases to be used as biomarkers or drug targets. She has served in the scientific committee of numerous international conferences. Dr. Cascante team is partner of three European translational research projects in the field of systems biology (FP7) and coordinator of an Spanish funded research project in the field of systems medicine. Additionally, she acts as associate editor of BMC systems Biology and member of the board of directors of the International Metabolomics Society and of the editorial advisory boards of the Biochemical Journal and Metabolomics. Josep Roca is Professor of Medicine at the University of Barcelona, Director of the Lung Function Unit at the Hospital Clinic (Barcelona) and leader of the ICT program for chronic patient management at the Hospital Clínic. Dr. Roca has broad interests in respiratory medicine, from gas exchange and development of predicted values, to muscle function and pulmonary rehabilitation in COPD. He is currently leading a multidisciplinary team working on research and development projects addressing different aspects of chronic diseases. He is the coordinator of the NEXES project (CIP-ICT-PSP-2007-225025), aiming to validate and promote adoption of innovative services for chronic patients supported by information and communication technologies (ICT). Prof Roca is also the scientific coordinator of SYNERGY (VPH,FP7-ICT-2009-270086), and member of the VPH NoE Advisory Board.






Recent publications relevant to the project

1) Cascante M, Benito A, Zanuy M, Vizán P, Marín S, de Atauri P. Metabolic network adaptations in cancer as targets for novel therapies. Biochem Soc Trans. 2010 Oct;38(5):1302-6. PubMed PMID: 20863303


2) Selivanov VA, Votyakova TV, Zeak JA, Trucco M, Roca J, Cascante M. Bistability of mitochondrial respiration underlies paradoxical reactive oxygen species generation induced by anoxia. PLoS Comput Biol. 2009 Dec;5(12):e1000619. Epub2009 Dec 24. PubMed PMID: 20041200; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2789320


3) Bousquet J, Anto JM, Sterk PJ, Adcock IM, Chung KF, Roca J et al. . Systems medicine and integrated care to combat chronic noncommunicable diseases. Genome Med. 2011 Jul 6;3(7):43. PubMed PMID: 21745417; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3221551


4) Maier D, Kalus W, Wolff M, Kalko SG, Roca J, Marin de Mas I, Turan N, Cascante et al. Knowledge management for systems biology a general and visually driven framework applied to translational medicine. BMC Syst Biol. 2011 Mar 5;5:38. PubMed PMID: 21375767; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3060864


5) Través PG, de Atauri P, Marín S, Pimentel-Santillana M, Rodríguez-Prados JC, Marín de Mas I, Selivanov VA, Martín-Sanz P, Boscá L, Cascante M. Relevance of the MEK/ERK signaling pathway in the metabolism of activated macrophages: a metabolomic approach. J Immunol. 2012 Feb 1;188(3):1402-10. Epub 2011 Dec 21. PubMed PMID: 22190182