02/08/2016 - Press release
A study including the IMIM (Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute), the Duke Lemur Center, and Duke University has, for the first time, been looking at gene regulation in hibernating primates. They studied the fat-tailed dwarf lemur (Cheirogaleus medius). This is a very little-studied species and exceptional as it is the only primate capable of hibernating, subsisting on the lipids it has stored in its tail over the rest of the year. The project is also one of the few works on hibernation that uses a modern technique known as RNAseq which provides a global view of which genes are expressed and quantifies these. This is the first genomic data on this species.
29/07/2016 - Press release
The prestigious journal PLoS Pathogens has just published an article on the results of the Malaria Box project, an initiative of the Medicines for Malaria Venture that has given free, open access to new families of antimalarial molecules to 200 laboratories from 30 countries. The purpose of the project is to encourage new pharmacological discoveries that make it possible to fight neglected diseases and other illnesses and, for the moment, it has already initiated more than a dozen projects aimed at developing new drugs for various diseases. The Systems Pharmacology research group at the IMIM was the only Catalan participant in this extensive study that also involved three other Spanish centres, in the Basque country (BIOBIDE), Galicia (University of Santiago de Compostela) and Madrid (GlaxoSmithKline R&D).
15/07/2016 - General information
Recently, Dr. Jordi Mestres, coordinator of the Systems Pharmacology research group at the IMIM was elected to the Scientific Advisory Board of the Chemical Probes portal, a free internet-based tool that allows researchers to look for the most appropriate chemical probe for their project, before they start their research.Chemical probes are very small molecules that interact with multiple proteins and they have had a huge impact in biomedical research as, if they are low quality, they can generate erroneous results. Understanding the interactions of these small molecules is key in the development of safer, more efficient drugs.
15/06/2016 - Press release
Bioinformatics Barcelona Association (BIB) launches its websitewww.bioinformaticsbarcelona.eu, which aims to be a reference in the bioinformatic sector at national and international level, and to become the platform for communication and interaction among BIB's partners. Through this website, the association has enhanced its digital presence to become a meeting-point facilitator of initiatives and a think tank for the bioinformatic community. The portal contains sections on the BIB partners and their research groups in the bioinformatic field, and on education and training, job offers and internships, news, activities and news clipping, as well as a section with specific information on the association itself. The website aims to boost the international visibility of our ready-and-available bioinformatic strength, which, through collaboration among partners and together with external agents, can extend current limits to achieve increasingly ambitious goals.
26/05/2016 - Press release
When bringing to market any new drug efficiency and safety are essential. R+D Departments in pharmaceutical companies spend lots of efforts to make sure the new compounds meet the highest standards. In the process, large amounts of useful information are produced, that traditionally end up buried in the archives of pharmaceutical companies. Committed to avoiding duplicating processes, wasting time and resources, 13 pharmaceutical industries, 7 academic institutions and 5 SMEs launched the eTOX project. The result of the project will be a comprehensive database with toxicity studies for thousands of drugs (or drug candidates) and a collection of original software applications for toxicity prediction.
1/03/2016 - Press release
A study published in the prestigious journal Scientific Reports from the Nature group demonstrates, for the first time and using computational tools, that polyunsaturated lipids can alter the binding rate of two types of receivers involved in certain nervous system diseases. The work was led by members of the Research Programme on Biomedical Informatics at the IMIM (Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute) and Pompeu Fabra University as well as researchers from the University of Tampere (Finland), and also involved scientists from the University of Barcelona. Using latest-generation molecular simulations, which are like “computational microscopes”, the researchers have demonstrated that a decrease in polyunsaturated lipids in neuronal membranes, as seen in Parkinson's and Alzheimer's sufferers, directly affects the binding rate of dopamine and adenosine receptors.
11/01/2016 - Press release
Research just published in the journal Plos Genetics has found that gaining new genes during evolution is a much more frequent event than previously thought. It has been seen that there are hundreds of genes that might be unique to humans, and something similar occurs in chimpanzees. Some of these genes will be useful for the organism in question and the rest will disappear in time. The work was led by Mar Albà, an ICREA researcher at the Mar Institute of Medical Research (IMIM) and Jorge Ruiz-Orera, from the same group, together with researchers from Pompeu Fabra University (UPF) and the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG). For some time it was thought that all new genes originated from other genes, for example, from duplications of already existing genes. But recently it has been seen that some, the so-called de novo genes, originate in genomic regions that previously contained none. According to Mar Albà “This work shows that the formation of DNA motifs, through the accumulation of random mutations, would have been a determining factor in the emergence of new genes.” DNA motifs are elements that activate gene expression.
03/11/2015 - Press release
A new integrated computational method helps predicting adverse drug reaction—which are often lethal—more reliably than with traditional computing methods. This improved ability to foresee the possible adverse effects of drugs may entail saving many lives in the future. The study that is being conducted by researchers from IMIM (Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute), Pompeu Fabra University, and the company Chemotargets, within the framework of the European eTOX project, was chosen for the cover of the journalChemical Research in Toxicology. Most computer tools employed today to detect possible adverse effects of compounds that are candidates for new medicines are based on detecting labile fragments in the drug's structure. These fragments can potentially transform to form reactive metabolites, which can have toxic properties. This is what is known as idiosyncratic toxicity and is a big headache for the pharmaceutical industry, as it tends to be detected in late development stages of the drug and even when it is already on the market, often causing the drug to be withdrawn.
18/09/2015 - General information
Some time ago it was believed that new genes originated, at least partially, from other genes; for instance, from the duplication of existing genes. But recently it has been seen that there are certain genes, those called de novo genes, that originate in genomic regions that didn’t contain any genes previously. A study published in arXiv.org, led by Mar Albà, the coordinator of the Group on Evolutionary Genomics from the Research Programme on Biomedical Informatics (GRIB) from IMIM and the UPF and an ICREA Professor, and with the collaboration of scientists from different centres at the PRBB (Barcelona Biomedical Research Park), has revealed there are hundreds of de novo genes originated in humans, many of which where unknown until now. Some of these genes are coded through small proteins that are expressed in the brain or in germinal cells.
04/12/2012 - Press release
Bioinformaticians at IMIM and UPF have used molecular simulation techniques to explain a specific step in the maturation of the HIV virions, essential in understanding how the virus replicates. These results, which have been published in the latest edition of PNAS, could be crucial to the design of future antiretrovirals.The work has been carried out using GPUGRID.net, a voluntary distributed computing platform leveraging GPU accelerators to deliver “virtual supercomputing” performance.