Hospital del Mar Research Institute Hospital del Mar Research Institute

Programme Directors of the Hospital del Mar Research Institute

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. Likewise, 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 

Montserrat Fitó

Montserrat Fitó is the Director of the Research Program in Epidemiology and Public Health and Coordinator of the Cardiovascular Risk and Nutrition Research Group (CARIN) of the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM) and the Spanish network of excellence CIBER for the Physiopathology of Obesity and Nutrition (CIBERobn). Likewise, Dr. Fitó is a member of the Permanent Board of the Catalan Center for Nutrition of the Institute of Catalan Studies (CCNIEC).

Her group, with researchers belonging to both CIBER networks, CIBERobn (Obesity and Nutrition) and CIBEResp (Epidemiology and Public Health), has focused on the investigation of biomarkers with predictive and prognostic value for chronic degenerative diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, both in Child, adult, and elderly population. Likewise, the team is focusing on the study of the mechanisms related to cardiovascular risk. Among the group's objectives is to advance in the innovation of therapeutic strategies, for which they have created collaborations with specialized centers of international excellence.

Dr. Fitó is a researcher and member of the Steering Committee of the PREDIMED and PREDIMEDPlus trials, in which she has assisted in several NIH studies. These studies represent the first large-scale randomized controlled trials with a lifestyle intervention to prevent cardiovascular disease worldwide. The scientific results of these trials have contributed to the updating of clinical guidelines related to the prevention of cardiovascular diseases (such as the clinical guidelines of the American Heart Association, among other European and national ones).

Director of the Biomedical Informatics Research Programme

Mar Albà is the director of the Biomedical Informatics Research Programme (GRIB). She is an ICREA Research Professor and leads the Evolutionary Genomics Group at IMIM.

She obtained a PhD in Biological Sciences at Universitat de Barcelona in 1997. During 1998-1999 she was a postdoctoral researcher in the group of John Hancock at the MRC Clinical Research Centre (UK). Later she joined the group led by Paul Kellam at University College London to develop new computational tools to study herpesvirus gene evolution and function. Before joining IMIM, she was also a Ramón y Cajal scientist at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (2002-2005). Mar Albà has taught bioinformatics at Universitat Pompeu Fabra for 20 years. She has directed 11 doctoral thesis and she is an author of over 100 publications. In 2021 she was awarded an European Research Council Advanced Grant (NovoGenePop, 2021-2026).

Mar Albà has an extensive experience in the development of computational tools for the analysis of biomedical data. Her research team uses high throughput sequencing methods to uncover the translation of small ORFs and to better understand the processes underlying the birth of new genes. The development of methods to analyze data from emerging RNA-seq technologies such as Nanopore RNA-seq is also an active line of research. The group is also studying how mutations in cancer result in alterations in the transcriptome and proteome, and how this impacts the neoantigen landscape and the response to treatment.

Director of the Neuroscience Research Programme

Pablo Villoslada, director of the Neurosciences Research Programme, studied medicine at the University of Santiago de Compostela (1990). He completed his specialization in neurology at Vall d'Hebron Hospital and earned his Ph.D. in Neuroimmunology (1996) at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. He conducted a postdoctoral fellowship in Neuroimmunology at the University of California. Furthermore, he worked as an Associate Professor at the University of Navarra (2001 to 2008) and later led the neuroimmunology group at Hospital Clínic - IDIBAPS (2009 to 2014). He returned to the United States in 2014, joining the faculty of the Department of Neurology at the University of California (2014 to 2017), after which he joined Genentech (Roche) as Director of Clinical Development in Neuroinflammation. Since 2019, he has been an Adjunct Professor at Stanford University and has also held the position of Adjunct Professor at Pompeu Fabra University since 2018. Currently, he serves as the Head of the Neurology Department at Hospital del Mar.

Pablo Villoslada has been actively engaged in neuroscience and translational research for over 25 years, contributing to the application of systems biology to neurological diseases, the development of new therapies or biomarkers for neuroinflammatory and neurodegenerative conditions, and neuroimaging (brain MRI and OCT) for brain disorders. He has published over 200 articles in prestigious neurology journals such as Lancet Neurology, Ann Neurol, Neurology, Arch Neurol, and Brain, among others. Furthermore, he holds 15 patents related to biomarkers and novel therapies for brain diseases, the majority of which are actively licensed to biotechnology and medical technology companies.

He has played a pivotal role in research networks and consortia, notably as the coordinator and founder of the Spanish Network for Multiple Sclerosis (RETICS Red Española de Esclerosis Múltiple) from 2006 to 2014. He has also been a member of European consortia, including CompleDis (7FP), CombiMS (Horizon 2020, co-coordinator), Sys4MS (Horizon 2020, coordinator), UEPHA*MS (Horizon 2020), and MultipleMS (Horizon Europe). Additionally, he is a co-founder and current member of the scientific advisory board of the International MS Visual Consortium and a member of the International MS Genetic Consortium. He also serves on the scientific advisory boards of institutions such as the Achucarro Institute in Leioa, the Barcelona Beta Research Center (BBRC), and the Biomimetics Science Institute in Barcelona, as well as the GAEM Foundation in Barcelona. Finally, he is a member of the scientific advisory boards for biotechnology and medical technology companies, including QMENTA Inc (Boston, MA), Adhera Health Inc (Palo Alto, CA), CLight Inc (Berkeley, CA), Accure Therapeutics (Barcelona), and Attune Neurosciences (Maryland, MD). His outstanding career and contributions to neurological research have established him as a renowned expert in the field.

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