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Promoting human genomic data to benefit society, creating inclusive and integrated societies, bioengineering for healthy ageing, the types of cancer associated with women, the Zika virus and the microbiome are just some of the scientific challenges that will be covered in the 2017 program of B·Debate, an initiative of Biocat and the “la Caixa” Foundation to promote scientific debate.

B·Debate was launched in 2009 and, since then, roughly 1,500 speakers and more than 9,000 participants have helped promote collaboration, open exchange and debate at the more than 60 international scientific events organized by the initiative.


The program in detail

The topics to be tackled in the 2017 B·Debate sessions include different areas of biomedical research, but also other arenas that have an impact on improving people's quality of life. The activities will be carried out in collaboration with noteworthy organizations and research centers from Catalonia with international support and participation.

One of the topics to debate will be the characterization of the human transcriptome and the possibilities this opens up for biomedical research, a debate co-organized by the Center for Genomic Regulation (CRG). With Institut Guttmann, participants will explore how to create more integrated and inclusive societies for people in rehabilitation using ICT and social sciences applied to smart cities. Another session will also discuss the solutions bioengineering can contribute to the great challenge of the ageing population, such as m-health, robotics and regenerative therapy, co-organized by the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC). In conjunction with the Catalan Institute of Oncology (ICO), University of Vic, Hospital Clínic Barcelona and Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology, a session will deal with new breakthroughs in preventing and treating cancers that affect women. In the field of epidemiology, the Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) will lead a debate to assess the risk of transmission, response capacity and future public health challenges associated with the Zika virus and other arboviruses. Continuing on from the last two debates focusing on the microbiome organized by B·Debate in 2015 and 2016, there will be another session focusing on this topic organized with IrsiCaixa. Finally, there will also be a debate organized with Pompeu Fabra University (UPF) focusing on natural selection in human beings to understand our adaptations. This session will discuss the latest advances and trends in detecting and interpreting the imprints adaptive selection has left on humans in general and specific populations.

The B·Debate 2017 program will also feature the upcoming Barcelona Conference on Epigenetics and Cancer (BCEC), in this case led by the Molecular Biology Institute of Barcelona (IBMB-CSIC). The event will analyze how to translate the epigenetics of cancer from basic research to clinical applications, including prediction, diagnosis and personalized cancer therapies.

The program has been chosen from the proposals submitted in the B·Debate 2017 call. The winning proposals were selected by the B·Debate Scientific Committee, made up of prestigious experts and scientists from a variety of fields of science in Catalonia, based on their scientific importance and the social interest of the challenges posed, their potential for disseminating the knowledge and contents generated through the debates and their chances of reaching solutions to society’s needs. They also considered the interdisciplinary nature of the topic and international impact of the activity.

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