EMBL to open new site in Barcelona

Spanish government and EMBL sign agreement for new site dedicated to tissue biology and disease modelling

(PresseBox) (Barcelona, ) At a ceremony in Barcelona, EMBL* and the Spanish government, represented by the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness (MINECO), will sign an agreement for a new EMBL site to be hosted in the city. Also present will be the Catalan Government, represented by the Ministry of Business and Knowledge, and the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), which have supported this initiative from the very beginning. EMBL Barcelona will be located on the campus of the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB), and researchers at the site will explore how tissues and organs function and develop, and how preventing failures in those processes may help to tackle disease. Alongside cutting-edge research, the site will house state-of-the-art imaging facilities, making pioneering technologies available to scientists worldwide.

"Tissue biology and disease modelling is an exciting field, where we expect breakthroughs in fundamental research and also in terms of future medical applications. EMBL Barcelona will be in a unique position to lead those advances," says EMBL Director-General Iain Mattaj. "The site will be one of the few places in the world where scientists can access state-of-the-art microscopy and modelling technologies specifically designed for studying tissues."

Scientists at EMBL Barcelona will tackle key challenges around human health. Many health issues like cancer, diseases of the immune system and birth defects involve flaws in how cells arrange themselves and interact at the tissue level. Research in tissue biology raises the exciting prospect of being able to control, make and heal tissues and organs - approaches that could provide new means of treating such conditions.

"This agreement to host EMBL in Barcelona is testament to the Spanish government's commitment to support excellent science and to capitalise on the rapid development of internationally competitive biomedical research," says Luis de Guindos, Spanish Minster of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness. "It reflects our ambition to place Spain at the forefront of research in the life sciences."

Researchers at EMBL's new site will work in a highly collaborative, interdisciplinary and international environment, benefiting from the institute's long-lasting relationship with the CRG, an international biomedical research institute based at the PRBB, and the close collaboration with other institutes on campus, as well as opportunities across EMBL sites and with other partners throughout Europe and beyond.

 "At CRG we have a partnership with EMBL since 2006, and we've already made significant discoveries as a result of our collaboration," says Luis Serrano, Director of CRG. "This will continue in the future, and we will strengthen those links further now that EMBL will be physically present on site."

"Hosting EMBL in Barcelona represents a landmark achievement in Catalonia's ambitious and successful R&D programme. The PRBB campus and the region host a vibrant community, conducting pioneering science, so this is the perfect setting for EMBL's new site," says Jordi Baiget, Minister of Business and Knowledge of the Catalan Government and President of the CRG Board of Trustees.

EMBL is an intergovernmental organization supported by more than 20 member states. The first new EMBL site to be established in almost 20 years, EMBL Barcelona will be the institute's sixth site - after Heidelberg (Germany), Hamburg (Germany), Grenoble (France), Hinxton (UK) and Monterotondo (Italy). It is expected to begin operations in autumn 2017.

EMBL Heidelberg

EMBL is Europe's flagship laboratory for the life sciences. We are an intergovernmental organisation established in 1974 and are supported by over 20 member states.

EMBL performs fundamental research in molecular biology, studying the story of life. We offer services to the scientific community; train the next generation of scientists and strive to integrate the life sciences across Europe.

We are international, innovative and interdisciplinary. We are more than 1600 people, from over 80 countries, operating across five sites in Grenoble (France), Hamburg (Germany), Heidelberg (Germany), Hinxton (UK) and Monterotondo (Italy). Our scientists work in independent groups and conduct research and offer services in all areas of molecular biology.

Our research drives the development of new technology and methods in the life sciences. We work to transfer this knowledge for the benefit of society.

Scientists at EMBL Barcelona will explore how tissues and organs function and develop, in health and disease. Alongside cutting-edge research, the site will house state-of-the-art imaging facilities, enabling scientists worldwide to access microscopy and modelling technologies specifically designed for studying tissues. EMBL Barcelona will be located in the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB), one of the largest infrastructures in Southern Europe dedicated to translational research.

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