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The board of the Center for Genomic Regulation (CRG) has just named researcher Luis Serrano as the organization’s new director for the next five years. Serrano is taking over for Miguel Beato, who was at the head of this organization for the past ten years (the term limit established for this position).

Born in Madrid 52 years ago, Luis Serrano holds a PhD in Biochemistry from the Autonomous University of Madrid and has worked as team leader at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg (Germany) and head of the Structural and Computational Biology program simultaneously at the EMBL and CNIO. He is currently an ICREA research professor and heads the CRG Systems Biology program.

Luis Serrano: "I hope to make the CRG a European benchmark in human genome analysis "

In this new venture, Luis Serrano will continue in the same line in order to make “the CRG a European benchmark in human genome analysis. To achieve this, my challenges will be to attract private funding through donations and collaborations with companies, and to consolidate and reorganize the institute to make it more efficient,” he explained.
At the same time, in addition to continuing research to understand the human genome and the complexity of life, his aim will be “to apply this knowledge in order to bring about better health and quality of life in our society, and to allow it to become a source of wealth for the country.”

From now on, the CRG will focus its activity around four large pillars: research of excellence; the creation of health benefits for all and economic benefits for the country based on scientific knowledge; communicating breakthroughs in science to the general public, establishing bilateral communication and being receptive to their demands; and training a new generation of researchers, from the youngest, with school activities, through established scientists, helping them consolidate their careers.

Serrano also explained that he is excited about this new period and that “one of the reasons I came back to Spain five years ago after spending 18 years in England and Germany, and stepping down from my position as director of the EMBL program and rejecting an offer to be director of Max Planck, was the challenge of helping create an international benchmark center in Spain that can compete on a global level. I have tried to do this from my position first as program coordinator and, later, as deputy director, and now I am facing this challenge as director of the center. It is a great opportunity and I hope to be up to the challenge.”

Miguel Beato: "We considered the EMBL as a benchmark and, in some aspects, we’ve surpassed it”

Miguel Beato discussed the past ten years at the CRG: “We considered the EMBL as a benchmark and, in some aspects, we’ve surpassed it. In fact, the center’s short, ten-year, history has allowed us greater flexibility in adapting to new trends.” He also highlighted that in these ten years “there has been a notable change in society, above all Catalan society, that has helped us greatly. The CRG has enjoyed ongoing support that has allowed us to go beyond our initial plans. We have been able to attract excellent local and foreign colleagues because we have offered them highly competitive facilities and surroundings.”

The CRG is ranked 32nd on the 2010 Scimago list of more than 2,800 research centers from around the world. The same index ranks it second in Spain and twelfth in Europe, in terms of quality scientific publications. Furthermore, the CRG is ranked first in Spain regarding rate of international collaborations and quotes per scientific articles published.

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