Spain Barcelona

Health Sciences Research Institute of the “Germans Trias i Pujol” Foundation

Innovation in Respiratory Diseases

Brief Overview

The department is constituted by clinical researchers (pulmonologists, paediatricians and microbiologists); basic researchers (biotechnologists and molecular biologists); epidemiologists; nurses and laboratory technicians

The Department has two main research lines, leaded by two research groups:

The Innovation in Respiratory Infections and Tuberculosis group co-lead by Dr. José Domínguez and Dr. Cristina Prat-Aymerich is focused on the study of the respiratory infection diseases and tuberculosis. The department was awarded as High-Level Complexity TB Unit by the Spanish Society of Pulmonology (SEPAR), and is also member of Tuberculosis European Network Trialsgroup (TBNET)

The Respiratory Research Group (RRG) is currently lead by Dr. Antoni Rosell since last year as he took over the new post of Clinical Director of the Thorax Institute. The research group bonds clinical and basic researchers interested in various respiratory disorders like Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), pulmonary fibrosis, asthma, and lung cancer.

The mission of our department is to promote and protect respiratory health by fostering excellence in research and by facilitating its quick and safe translation to clinical practice. The structure of the department allows direct communication and cooperation between basic, clinical and epidemiological researchers in respiratory diseases. Both groups participate in several scientific networks and consortiums like the Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red (CIBER), from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, the Agència de Gestió d’Ajuts Universitaris i de Recerca (AGAUR), from the Ministry of Enterprise and Knowledge of the Government of Catalonia, and the Barcelona Respiratory Network (BRN) that gathers the public university hospitals from Barcelona that include academic and non-academic institutions.

Research Areas

Biomarkers\Immunology\Infection\Microbiology\Tuberculosis\Interstitial diseases\pulmonary fibrosis\COPD\lung cancer

Host center eligibility

Global fellowships (return phase only)\ European fellowships

Research infrastructure/facilities

The Health Sciences Research Institute of the “Germans Trias i Pujol” Foundation (IGTP) is a public research centre in the Autonomous region of Catalonia in Northern Spain dedicated to increasing scientific knowledge and transferring it to improve the care and lives of patients. The institute is attached to one of the large teaching hospitals in the Barcelona area; the Germans Trias University Hospital (HUGTiP) and is located on the biomedical campus that surrounds it, Campus Can Ruti. It is a CERCA centre; a member of the bio cluster supported and supervised by the Autonomous Catalonian Government. It is also accredited as a Centre of Excellence by the Instituto Carlos III (Spanish Government) and in this capacity acts as an umbrella organization for scientific research on the campus, where it works closely with the other centres located there.

IGTP has the infrastructure necessary to carry on a basic and clinic research project and support it. IGTP has various fluorescence microscopes, including confocal microscope. There is a core facility with several Flow cytometers. Basic lab equipment is available at the research Centre as spectrophotometers, multilabel plate readers for multiplex cytokine and chemokine measurement, Real time PCR system and image analyzer for chemiluminescence and a fluorescence imaging for Western-blot. The Institute has the equipment for histology processing samples such as cryotomes, a microtomes and a paraffin system for tissue inclusion. For animal experiments, the laboratory has independent surgery rooms, monitoring systems and animal facility under veterinary supervision. The laboratory has an area for cell culture experiments with two cell culture CO2 incubators, and biological safety cabinet with vertical laminar flow.

In 2018, the new IGTP infrastructure the Centre for Comparative Medicine and Bioimaging (CMCiB) became operational for research activities. The CMCiB has 4,500 m2 available for research based on animal models. CMCiB is equipped with BSL3 laboratories. The facility is dedicated to promoting the principles of 3R in preclinical research, therefore it includes: a mathematic modeling facility, a drosophila facility and a zebrafish facility.

Research funding/Resources

The department has received funding from national public agencies (continued funding since 2000, including funding for consolidate the research group from the Catalonian Government), from international public agencies (EDCTP, FP7, H2020), from Scientific Societies (Spanish Pulmonologist Society (SEPAR), Pulmonologist Catalan Foundation (FUCAP) and Spanish Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Society (SEIMC)), and from collaboration agreements with companies. The funding has allowed stabilizing research staff, and providing the group with the necessary resources for equipment and fungible material necessary for research activities. In addition the department also receives funding from the CIBERES, a network of Spanish research institutions.

Links to non-academic sector

The department leads a Consortium (INNOVA4TB) granted by the European Commission for improving staff skills and employment capacities by means of training and research activities. Sixteen institutions (Universities, Hospitals, Research Centres, Companies) from different countries (Spain, Germany, Sweden, Moldova, Ukraine and Chile) constitute the consortium. INNOVA4TB allows secondments (1-12months) in the non-academic sector.

During the 2009-2019 period the department signed more than 40 contracts with companies for know-how transfer; prototype validation; and clinical evaluation of new methods. The department has 3 international patents, and has received grants from Private Sector (Fundació LaCaixa) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology for transference activities.

Experience hosting international researchers, career development & training programmes, outreach activities

The department was eligible host for RESPIRE3 post-doc fellows and has also supervised ERS fellowships: Short-term fellowship (2012); Long-term fellowship (2016), and Clinical Training (2017). The department has received and trained the following visitors: early and experienced staff from FP7 Marie Curie Action (TBPROGNOSIS); PhD students from an ITN action (VacTrain); and PhD students from SEPAR-ALAT, and Aristotle Thessaloniki University International Exchanges.

The department coordinated (2014) an action between Addis Ababa University and Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, to give support in research activities to PhD students. The department has participated in 5 TBnet-Academy editions for young clinicians, PhD students and post-docs. INNOVA4TB is also mentoring and training staff from the member institutions. Secondments to nonacademic sectors, from different countries, are scheduled. The department offers career development training: Financial aids for researchers; Patents and licenses; Advice on ethical issues; Biosecurity; and “Aids, grants and job offers for researchers and post-doctoral programme.

HR Excellence in Research – EU award