On Friday, April 29, two years after the pandemic started, the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB) resumed one of its most iconic outreach activities and it finally opened its doors to the finalists of the seventeenth edition of the PRBB award. This award is announced annually by the PRBB and the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences of the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF).
This year 247 second-year high school students from all over Catalonia participated in the award, which seeks to recognise the best research work in health and life sciences by young people. Among them, they presented 222 excellent works that the members of the jury, made up of researchers from the different PRBB centers, evaluated until selecting the five finalist works.
Recovering the face-to-face event
After having to hold two online editions due to the Covid19 pandemic, it was possible to resume a face-to-face closing ceremony. Therefore, the finalists and their families attended the Park where they defended their work, were able to visit the facilities and assist to the award ceremony.
Dr. Raquel Garcia-Castellanos from the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), Dr. Krisztina Arató from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory – Barcelona (EMBL Barcelona) and Dr. Verónica Casado from the Department of Medicine and Life Sciences (MELIS-UPF) were in charge of deciding which work deserved the first prize. All of them have highlighted the high level of the works presented and the hard work done by the finalists, as well as the passion they showed in their presentations.
The first prize was for the work presented by Cesc Anguera Llàcer and Marçal Armengol Romero from the Pau Vila Institute in Sabadell. Both have studied the effects of sunscreens under different conditions and have managed to make a fully functional home-made sunscreen.
We really enjoyed doing the project, especially the lab work in the practical part. We are very happy because it is a recognition of our work and we did not expect it. The award has given us a lot of motivation to continue in the world of science, to continue researching.
Cesc Anguera and Marçal Armengol, winners of the first prize.
After the flames. The impact of fire and management on the regeneration of cork oaks in the Alt Empordà.
The second prize was for the work presented by Núria Dumanjó Andreu from the Institut Ramon Muntaner in Figueres. Núria has analyzed the behavior of cork oak, a very abundant species in the Alt Empordà, when facing fire and the effect of forest management strategies on forest regeneration.
Immunotherapy for colorectal cancer
The third prize was for the work done by Èlia Papo Aberasturi, a student at the Col·legi Mare de Déu del Carme in Tarragona. Èlia has studied the effect of immunotherapy using T lymphocytes from patients. A study carried out as part of the ‘crazy for medicine’ program in Eduard Batlle’s laboratory at the IRB in Barcelona.
Alliance with viruses: Bacteriophages as indicators of water quality
The fourth prize was won by Ainhoa Seguí Ugalde from the Manuel de Pedrolo Institute in Tàrrega. Ainhoa has been studying the presence of bacteriophages in the wastewater of Tàrrega as an alternative to assess the presence of fecal contamination.
The human body in space
The fifth prize was for the work of Luz Scales González of the Jesuites Gràcia – Kostka School. Luz has studied the effects of space travel on the health of astronauts. Her work has focused on the study of devices that use infrared rays that can help prevent complications for the health of the space crew.
To culminate the event, Dr. Jordi Camí, director of the PRBB, Dr. Joaquim Gea, Dean of the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences at UPF, and Dr. Verónica Casado gave the awards to the six young finalists. Finally, the jury awarded a mention in bioethics to the work ‘CRISPR. The molecular scissors with which you will be able to cut the DNA ‘presented by Lúa Abad Barja from Escola Pia de Balmes.
Núria, Ainhoa, Luz, Cesc, Marcel, Èlia and Lúa, all we can do is congratulate you on your work! We hope your scientific adventure does not end here. And who knows, maybe in a few years you’ll be back at the PRBB!!