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The new Collserola Building at the Institut de Recerca de l'Hospital Vall d'Hebron (Vall d’Hebron Hospital Research Institute, VHIR) opened today, expanding the area the hospital has until now allocated to research by some 2,500 sqm. Located at the top of the Barcelona-based hospital complex, the new facilities will house 150 researchers in its 16 laboratories.

The first floor will be earmarked to cancer genome research (Dr. Ana Vivancos) and, covering 100 sqm, is the largest area in terms of size. Other spaces on the first floor will be for research into proteomics (Dr. Josep Villenueva), tumour biomarkers (Dr. Francesc Canals), diabetes (Dr. Rafa Simó), obesity (Dr. Josep Villena), chronic fatigue syndrome (Dr. José Alegre), allergies (Dr .Victòria Cardona) and cephalea (Dr. Patricia Pozo), among other areas. The second floor will house the scientists of the Biomedical Research and Translational Paediatric Oncology Unit (Dr. Jaume Reventós), molecular pathology (Dr. Santiago Ramon y Cajal), nanomedicine (Dr. Ibane Ibasolo and Dr Simó Schwartz jr.) and cell signalling and apoptosis (Dr. Joan Comella).

The building is conceived as a latest-generation infrastructure to move forward in excellence and will be used by consolidated and new research groups and support personnel. The Collserola Building complements the Mediterrània Building, the original site of the VHIR, and is crucial at a time when the centre is expanding its objectives.

The investment of 6,725,586 euro was financed by the Spanish Ministry for Health (70%) and the Government of Catalonia (30%).

The opening event was attended by the Catalan Health Minister, Marina Geli.

Looking Towards Europe

The building’s inauguration comes at the same time that a project by the European consortium EATRIS (European Advanced Translational Research Infrastructure in Medicine) is being implemented, which will see the VHIR act as a centre of scientific coordination in Spain. The consortium was established to bring together Europe’s premier translational research centres that specialise in biomedicine to facilitate the application of results to patient treatment.

In practice, EATRIS will help develop new vaccines, offer patients customised medical services, expand the range of medicines available on the market and innovate in advanced therapies such as cellular and gene therapy.

The project involves the participation of a further 11 scientific partners from 10 countries in addition to the VHIR. Spain’s participation is based around 21 hospitals of top scientific quality (six from Catalonia) and three centres of oriented basic research (CNIO, CNIC and the Barcelona Institute for Biomedical Research).

The first pilot projects are scheduled to be developed between 2011 and 2012.


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