Appointment of Daniel Closa, Group leader
Science is the best tool we have for understanding disease and discovering how to cure it. It would be foolish not to make the most of it

Current research

Problem

Many diseases involve alterations of the body’s defence mechanisms and tissue-repair mechanisms. This leads to inflammatory modifications and fibrous tissue that sometimes becomes the disease’s main problem.

This group researches inflammatory and fibrotic processes in respiratory and digestive diseases, such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, pancreatic cancer, and acute pancreatitis, and in autoimmune processes associated with lymphocyte activation.

Approach

The group studies intercellular signalling mechanisms based on the exchange of soluble molecules and on those transported by extracellular vesicles, the phenotypic changes associated with these diseases, and the alteration of different markers at the molecular level. It also develops techniques for analysing biomolecules using mass spectrometry and, more especially for proteomic studies, analysing changes in patterns of phosphorylation or acetylation, and other protein modifications.

Impact

The group aims to discover innovative strategies that, by altering the communication between cells, will make it possible to develop new therapeutic applications for different diseases.

The group has already developed a new therapy for treating idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, based on the transplantation of alveolar cells. It was also a pioneer in describing the role of exosomes (groups of proteins) in the progression of inflammation in different tissues during the course of pancreatitis. Finally, it has published the first database of phosphorylation sites for the human lymphocyte, with over 2,000 modification sites.