IMIM - Institut Hospital del Mar d'Investigacions Mèdiques IMIM - Institut Hospital del Mar d'Investigacions Mèdiques

Programme Directors of the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM)

Director of the Cancer Research Programme

Joan Albanell is the director of the Cancer Programme, coordinator of the Molecular Cancer Therapeutics Research Group, and head of the Medical Oncology Service at Hospital del Mar in Barcelona.  His extensive professional career includes being Professor of Oncology at Pompeu Fabra University, Associate Professor at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, coordinator of the Scientific Committee of the Spanish Breast Cancer Research Group (GEICAM), and clinical coordinator of the Cancer Research Group at the Networking Biomedical Research Centre Consortium (CIBERONC).

Joan Albanell graduated from the Autonomous University of Barcelona in 1989 with an extraordinary award in medicine. He was a Medical Oncology resident in Vall d'Hebron Hospital from 1990 to 1993. He then spent two years (1995 and 1996) in the laboratory of Malcolm AS Moore at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, where he worked on translational research on the telomerase enzyme. He defended his doctoral thesis on this subject in 2001, at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. He worked as a medical oncology consultant from 1997 to 2002 at Hospital de la Vall Hebron, and from 2002 to June 2005 at Hospital Clínic in Barcelona.

In June 2005, he joined the Medical Oncology Service of Hospital del Mar in Barcelona as chief of the service. Dr. Albanell's main field is breast cancer and his research involves translational studies using new biological agents/targets. He has participated in the design and development of several phase I clinical trials, with an important role in pharmacodynamics.

The focus of his research career has been the clinical study of new anti-cancer drugs and their mechanisms of action and resistance. He is the author of more than 120 peer-reviewed articles with over 9,000 citations. For years he has been conducting translational research on response markers and resistance mechanisms to new therapies for HER2-positive breast cancer. Into this research, he has recently he has incorporated knowledge on how immune system is involved in treatment effectiveness.


Director of the Translational Clinical Research Programme

Xavier Nogués is the director of the Translational Clinical Research Programme (formerly RICAD), coordinator of the Skeletal Muscle Group (GIME) at the IMIM, and the CIBER clinical research coordinator on Fragility and Healthy Ageing (CIBERFES). He is an associate professor in the UAB Department of Medicine and Head of the Internal Medicine Service at the Parc de Salut Mar.

He studied Medicine in the Faculty of Medicine at the UAB and has been a Doctor of Medicine at that university since 1992. He did a post-doctoral stay at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1998, where he studied genetics and bone metabolism.

His research focuses on the area of bone metabolism, postmenopausal osteoporosis, cancer-treatment-induced osteoporosis and rare bone diseases.  He is an expert in the field of bone metabolism and links that with the issue of fragility and ageing as part of CIBERFES. His translational research laboratory is involved in genetic research, bone cell cultures and microindentation in experimental animals.

Dr. Nogués is recognised both nationally and internationally as an expert in his field and has published extensively. He has been President of the Spanish Society for Bone and Mineral Metabolism Research (SEIOMM) and is a board member of the European Calcified Tissue Society.

Director of the Epidemiology and Public Health Research Programme 

Jordi Alonso is the director of the Epidemiology and Public Health Research Programme, coordinator of the IMIM Health Services Research Group, and scientific sub-director of the CIBER Epidemiology and Public Health group (CIBERESP). He is Professor of Preventive Medicine and Public Health in the Department of Experimental and Health Sciences (DCEXS) at Pompeu Fabra University (UPF) in Barcelona, and an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Administration at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore (USA).

His research centres on assessing the social burden of common mental disorders and suicide, with special interest in the unmet need for mental care.  He is the European coordinator of the World Mental Health (WMH) Consortium. Dr. Alonso's other area of research involves PROMs (Patient-Reported Outcome Measures).  He is scientific co-director of BiblioPRO, a virtual PRO library in Spanish with more than 2,200 instruments.

Dr. Alonso has been in the 1% of most-cited researchers in the world in the field of Psychiatry/Psychology since 2016. He received the Presidential Award in 2019, from the International Society for Quality of Life Research (ISOQOL), as well as the Professional excellence award from the Consejo de Colegios Médicos de Cataluña (2005).

Director of the Biomedical Informatics Research Programme

Ferran Sanz is the director of the Joint Research Programme in Biomedical Informatics (GRIB) of the IMIM and Pompeu Fabra University (UPF).

Dr. Sanz studied Chemical Engineering at the Instituto Químico de Sarriá (1973) and took his degree in Chemical Sciences at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) (1978), where he later completed his doctoral studies on computational models for predicting the activity profiles of MAO inhibitors (1982), directing his research towards the field of applied computational techniques in the biomedical and pharmaceutical fields. He obtained a position as a lecturer at the UAB in 1985. In 1990 he obtained a post as a senior research technician at the Parc de Salut Mar (IMAS at that time), being appointed Head of Service at this health care facility, where he initiated the creation and development of the research into biomedical informatics that has become the GRIB. In 2001 he was appointed professor at the UPF.

He has been the international coordinator of 10 EU-funded initiatives and a STOA report for the European Parliament. He is co-author of the DisGeNET knowledge base on gene-disease partnerships ( He is president of the Council of the European bioinformatics platform ELIXIR, co-president of the Spanish Technological Platform on Innovative Medicines (PTEMI),and vice-president of Bioinformatics Barcelona (BIB). He was president of the European Federation for Medicinal Chemistry (EFMC) (2003-2005), vice-rector of Science Policy at the UPF (2004-2009), and a member of the Scientific Committee of the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) until 2013. He has been a visiting professor at the Federico II University (Naples), the University of Düsseldorf, and the University of Vienna. He is a founding member of the spin-off companies Pharmatools and MedBioinformatics Solutions.

Director of the Neuroscience Research Programme

Rafael de la Torre completed his studies in Pharmacy at the University of Barcelona in 1980. He was funded for two years by the French Government for a pre-doctoral stay at INSERM (U26) in Paris, where he worked on immunotoxicology. He received his PhD in 1985 from the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Barcelona, under the supervision of Dr. Jordi Camí. At that time he was working in the Clinical Pharmacology Service at Hospital del Mar, and shortly afterwards he joined the Pharmacology Unit of the IMIM.

He became interested in drug metabolism and its contribution to the bioactivation of carcinogens, and, in 1987, he undertook a stay at the Royal Post-Graduate Medical School (Hammersmith Hospital, London), financed by the European Science Foundation. He was awarded a NATO Senior Fellowship (MDMA Neurotoxicity, University of Texas Austin) in 2001, and a Salvador de Madariaga Fellowship (Steroidal Brain Receptors, Douglas Mental Health University Institute, McGill University, Montreal) in 2011.

In 2007 he was appointed Director of the Neuroscience Research Programme at the IMIM, and for an 18-month period from 2015 to 2016 he also acted as Interim Director of the IMIM. He was appointed Full Member of the Royal Academy of Pharmacy in 2017.   

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