Sharing our research
In 2021, the MELIS organized several outreach activities and also participated in yearly activities organized by other institutions. We had activities that reached across disciplines and age groups, aimed at high school students, senior people, patients and their relatives, and the general public:
Activities with primary school students
Jointly organized with the PRBB, gives high school students the opportunity to interact with scientists online. In May 2021 20 children from the Mediterrània School of Barcelona interviewed Marc Talló from the MELIS.
Activities with secondary school students
The UPF Faculty of Health and Life Sciences and the PRBB jointly organize this award for research in the health and life sciences for upper secondary school students. It is the perfect moment to address scientific concerns and plant the seeds that will grow into future scientists. In the 2021 edition, 222 students participated and the winning work was about Artificial Intelligence applied to the early diagnosis of melanoma.
The University organizes a program of summer courses aimed at secondary school students. It aims to help young people decide what they want to study in the future, offering courses in various disciplines that combine teaching and experimental and playful practice. Four of the courses are given by MELIS researchers and around 100 students participated in those.
- PhD students Araceli Bergada and Lucia de los Reyes from the Laboratory of Neuropharmacology-Neurophar gave a talk on “What effects does cannabis have on our brain?” 90 students from three schools (the Nou Patufet School, Sagrat Cor Diputació and Santíssima Trinitat) attended the online talk.
- UPF professor Fernando Giráldez gave a talk entitled “The scientific search for the human mind“, organized by the MELIS and the PRBB. The event was attended by 400 students from nine different schools.
- The Institute for Evolutionary Biology (IBE: CSIC-UPF) organized a talk for the 4th-year ESO students of the Caterina Albert Institute by researcher Ricard Solé.
February 2021. This talk aims to make visible the work of so many ignored female scientists and raise awareness of the lack of female references in textbooks, organized together with the QUAES-UPF Chair.
Activities with patients, their relatives and general public
In the context of Brain Awareness Week the first Alzheimer’s Forum “Advances in the diagnosis of the disease” took place in March 2021, in which 120 people participated. Three experts addressed issues such as the molecular bases of the disease, the role of image-based techniques in its diagnosis, the guidelines for its prevention, and the steps followed from diagnosis at the medical and personal level. The activity was organized with the support of the QUAES-UPF Chair of Biomedicine and Biomedical Engineering.
Ictus Forum: new horizons in research, diagnosis, and treatment, September 2021, organized together with the QUAES-UPF Chair. What are the risk factors, symptoms, and treatment of stroke? What do we know about its prevention? What techniques allow its diagnosis? At this activity, experts in different fields answered these and many more questions. It was aimed at relatives of patients, students, scientists, and the general public interested in learning more about this disease in an informal atmosphere.
Scientific dialogue: The future of hearing: genes, cells and treatments, October 2021, organized together with the QUAES-UPF Chair. Scientists addressed issues such as the prevalence of hearing loss and the heterogeneity of its causes; experimental models for the study of deafness and how they are combined with studies of human genetics; or available treatments and the status and prospects for new therapies.
Activities with the elderly
“Molecular and cellular pathophysiology of Alzheimer’s disease”
In the context of the Brain Awareness Week Francisco J. Muñoz gave a talk for the Tiana-Mongat University Extension Classroom for senior citizens, organized together with the QUAES-UPF Chair. The conference was entitled “Molecular and cellular pathophysiology of Alzheimer’s disease”.
Activities with the general public
MELIS researchers have participated in this initiative, in which the University opens its doors to the whole society to disseminate and debate, in a series of dialogues, current affairs. The activity proposes the humanistic field as the backbone of a series of lectures that deal with issues of general culture as well as politics, history, biomedicine, ethics, philosophy, psychology, or economics, always in dialogue format between two experts who belong to different fields of knowledge. MELIS researchers participated in:
- “Human migrations: from Biology and Sociology”, David Comas, January 2021.
- “Ethical challenges of synthetic biology and gene editing”, Marc Güell, April 2021.
Roundtable “Challenges of genomics diagnosis”, May 2021, organized together with the QUAES-UPF Chair. Four experts helped us better understand the scope of advances in genomics and their possible application to the study, diagnosis, and treatment of genetic diseases.
- In the first session “Pandemic or sindemic: covid-19 is not the same for everyone”, three experts discussed inequalities and covid-19 from the points of view of Public Health, Economy, and Global Health.
- The second session was “The new era of mRNA vaccines”. It discussed the technology of mRNA vaccines, their security, their application to other diseases, or the development process of one of the vaccines against COVID-19 in our country.
- The third one was “Viruses, friends too?”. The speakers explained the essential role of the virus in the planet’s health and in human health. They also talked about an experimental treatment of retinoblastoma, retinal cancer.
OpenDay of the PRBB. Every first Saturday of October the PRBB opens its doors in an event that usually allows people to come to the facilities and see, touch, and experience with their own hands. The event was done in a hybrid format in 2021.
- Bárbara Sinigaglia from the Institute for Evolutionary Biology (IBE: CSIC-UPF) and MELIS explains how we can learn about the history of a population by studying their genes.
- Rafael Maldonado, Andrés Ozaita, and Elena Martín from the MELIS-UPF explain how they study animal behavior.
- Live-streaming on Youtube visits to the MELIS-UPF synthetic biology laboratory, they showed some examples of the applications of modifying the genes of skin bacteria.
- Mara Dierssen from CRG, Gema Revuelta from MELIS-UPF, and Núria Argudo from Hospital del Mar together with Zulema Altamirano from ‘Unidad mujer y ciencia’ of the Ministry of science and innovation discussed how to incorporate a gender perspective in all stages of the research career.
Throughout the Brain Awareness Week 2021, the MELIS launched a Twitter campaign on “Neuromyths”, which consisted of short videos by research staff from the department in which they denied pre-established ideas about the brain, from the point of view of their field of knowledge.
- Round Table”Human Genetics: Challenges and limits”
- Cineforum “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”
- Conference “Frankenstein 2.0”
- Show “Caught by surprise”
- Roundtable “Research and Integrity”
- Conference “Science, art and complexity: the game of the possible”
- Workshop “What can you do to eat healthy and sustainable at the same time?”
- Visit “Get to know the PRBB”.