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

“Science journalists”

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.

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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.

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In the context of the Brain Awareness Week, three talks were held for high school students, to raise awareness of the lines of research being pursued in neurobiology.

  • 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.

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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, annual-report-biomedicine, ethics, philosophy, psychology, or economics, always in dialogue format between two experts who belong to different fields of knowledge. MELIS researchers participated in:

Sharing science: Zinc y la COVID-19, what do we know so far?, March 2021, organized together with the QUAES-UPF Chair. The activity was focused on a study in which researchers suggest that supplementing with zinc in COVID-19 patients with low levels of this element may be a strategy to reduce mortality and recovery time.
Scientific dialogues QUAES-UPF: “Mathematics of Life”, April 2021, organized together with the QUAES-UPF Chair. In this activity, it was discussed how in the 21st century we are learning that we can also use mathematics to understand living organisms, which is beginning to help us fight diseases and improve our quality of life.

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.

Do not wait for another pandemic to know what is being investigated in health and annual-report-biomedicine. ​​In October 2021 the MELIS launched the cycle “Do not wait for another pandemic to know what is being investigated in health and annual-report-biomedicine”, with the support of the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT). The Cycle has been designed to create a space for constant dialogue between the scientific community and society. It consists of nine sessions distributed throughout the course, one each month.

  • 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.

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.

City and Science Biennial, the City and Science Biennial brought a host of proposals to think about knowledge, its potential, and limits from various points of view: the advances that mark the future, their ethical implications, the close link between science and art, sociology and politics, gender equality, rights and opportunities, the sustainability of the planet. The June 2021 edition also included the Science Festival. MELIS researcher participated in:

Sharing Science: Ideas for healthy aging, November 2021, organized together with the QUAES-UPF Chair. The activity was focused on discussing the role of oxidative metabolism in chronological aging, the beneficial effects of exercise on health or exceptional aging, and the study of centenarians.