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The Barcelona Centre for New Medical Technologies, BCN-MedTech, is founded

The Barcelona Centre for New Medical Technologies, BCN-MedTech, is founded

The new unit aims to become a leader in translational research in Europe

13.01.2017

 

The Barcelona Centre for New Medical Technologies, BCN-MedTech, was created on 6 July 2016 by resolution of the UPF Board of Governors within the university’s Department of Information and Communication Technologies (DTIC) to provide an interdisciplinary and translational platform for research in biomedical engineering. It arose from the conviction that the rapid and exponential development of medical technology must be understood from a comprehensive technological, clinical, social and industrial perspective if it is to have a true impact on the many areas of application in the healthcare sector.

From top to the bottom: Bart Bijnens, Jérôme Noailly, Antoni Ivorra, Óscar Cámara, Gemma Piella, Miguel Ángel González Ballester, i Ralph Andrzejak.

The BCN-MedTech unit is made up of five UPF research groups, three of which have been recognized by the Catalan government: PhySense (Sensing in Physiology and Biomedicine), SimBioSys (Simulation, Imaging and Modelling for Biomedical Systems), and MBIOMM (Multiscale and Computational Biomechanics and Mechanobiology). The remaining two are the BERG (Biomedical Electronic Research Group) and NTSA (Nonlinear Time Series Analysis) research groups.

 

A translational multidisciplinary platform


The BCN-MedTech members’ experience with signal processing, imaging, physiology, biomechanics, electronics, biomedical simulations, and computer-assisted surgery will be decisive in achieving the unit’s goals. The interdisciplinary composition of the research team, made up of nearly forty people, ensures BCN-MedTech’s ability to meet its goals comfortably. Moreover, the industrial and clinical partners’ active participation offers an ideal framework to propose and carry out biomedical applications and new prototypes for clinical practice.

 

Providing new knowledge through cooperation


The new unit’s mission is to provide new knowledge through cooperation between all the member research groups and their joint participation in educational and technology transfer projects. Thus, BCN-MedTech aims to become a European leader in integrative and translational research, offering a new paradigm that combines mathematical and computational models with cutting-edge diagnostic and computer-assisted treatment systems to solve relevant clinical problems and offer innovative products to the healthcare sector. The unit was created based on the notion that progress and advances in medical technology stem from multidisciplinary teamwork through which clinical and technological researchers pursue the common goal of developing new concepts for preventing, diagnosing and treating the most prevalent conditions, drawing on all available convergent technologies.

 

The latest advances in Big Science

With regard to facilities and infrastructure, BCN-MedTech has access to the computing capacity provided by the DTIC’s joint virtualization cluster, which is supplemented with access to the Barcelona Supercomputing Centre, for instance, when needed for the computational cardiovascular physiology studies carried out by the group’s members. Additionally, the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park’s facilities provide biomedical equipment and animal experimentation facilities.  

The unit has created a broad network of national biomedical and clinical partners, as well as Barcelona-based and international hospitals, which provide it with access to images and the clinical physiological data of patients and healthy volunteers, to study and use to validate new technologies and scientific advances. BCN-MedTech has also secured access to major infrastructure in and outside the country, such as the ALBA synchrotrons (Cerdanyola del Vallès), ESRF (Grenoble, France), BESSY (Berlin, Germany), and Diamond (Oxfordshire, UK), for instance, to obtain high-resolution images for the study and characterization of whole hearts and the formation of 3D imaging of whole cells.

 

Integrated research, a common objective

BCN-MedTech brings together seven principal investigators with proven track records as researchers and extensive experience in managing goal-oriented research projects in the field of biomedical technologies and imaging. The unit is led by two ICREA researchers from the Department of Information and Communication Technologies – Miguel Ángel González Ballester, technical director, and Bart Bijnens, scientific director – who are responsible for the integrated research in seven fields, each of which is coordinated by a principal investigator and member of BCN-MedTech. The rest of the team is made up of postdoctoral researchers and doctoral students, eight of whom are enrolled on the programmes.

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