El curs

Institut de Recerca Biomèdica (IRB Barcelona)

Del 22 de gener al 5 de novembre 2022

El curs de Biomedicina del programa Bojos per la ciència de la Fundació Catalunya La Pedrera és un curs desenvolupat per l’Institut de Recerca Biomèdica (IRB Barcelona) dirigit als estudiants de 1r de batxillerat que desitgin explorar alguns dels descobriments fascinants que s'estan fent actualment en les ciències de la vida. A través d'aquest curs, els estudiants tindran l'oportunitat d'aprofundir el seu coneixement de la teoria i tècniques científiques en el camp de la biomedicina. Treballaran juntament amb investigadors joves per experimentar com es fa ciència en un institut de recerca internacional, guanyar experiència pràctica en les últimes metodologies d'avantguarda i posicionar-se per a una possible carrera professional en les ciències de la vida.

El curs s'impartirà durant 16 dissabtes del 22 de gener al 5 de novembre de 2022 a les instal·lacions de l’IRB Barcelona.

Aquest curs combina sessions teòriques i activitats experimentals pràctiques, que es duran a terme durant 16 dissabtes de l'any. El curs tractarà 10 temes científics actuals, que van des de la biologia cel·lular i molecular fins a la biologia estructural i computacional i la química, presentats per investigadors joves de l'IRB Barcelona. En el primer semestre (gener-abril 2022), els tres primers dissabtes es dedicaran a aquestes sessions teòriques online generals per a tots els participants. Durant els cinc dissabtes següents, es formaran grups petits que entraran als laboratoris per a les sessions pràctiques. A continuació, es repetirà aquest programa amb 5 temes de recerca nous per al segon semestre (maig-novembre 2022). Els estudiants participants s'hauran de comprometre a assistir a totes les sessions del curs durant tot l'any.

Les inscripcions al curs de Biomedicina del programa Bojos per la Biomedicina estaran obertes del 15 de setembre al 25 d’octubre de 2022 i entre tots els inscrits se seleccionaran 25 estudiants de 1r de batxillerat que participaran a la 10a edició del curs dins de la 10a edició del programa Bojos per la ciència que tindrà lloc al 2022.

Objectius específics

Entorn els estudis acadèmics

  • Fomentar entre els joves les vocacions científiques vinculades al món de les ciències biomèdiques tot ajudant-los a orientar el seu futur acadèmic i professional.
  • Oferir l’oportunitat que el seu Treball de Recerca de batxillerat estigui tutoritzat per un centre de recerca de referència.

Entorn la recerca

  • Apropar els estudiants a la recerca biomèdica.
  • Entendre la importància de la recerca bàsica i els seus beneficis per la societat.
  • Entendre la importància de la multidisciplinarietat.
  • Conèixer el funcionament dels centres de recerca vinculats amb la biomedicina.

Entorn les habilitats personals

  • Treballar en equip.
  • Potenciar el pensament crític.
  • Aprendre a presentar i comunicar la ciència de manera entenedora.

Sessions 2022

Semestre 1 (Gener - Abril 2022)
1. Unravelling the Molecular Structure of Life

Sessió a càrrec de: Blazej Baginski (Structural Characterization of Macromolecular Assemblies)

Idioma: Anglès

Proteins and nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) are the basic building blocks of life. They perform a multitude of functions–from sensing, transporting, and enzymatic regulation, to building the cell’s internal skeleton. Therefore, the fold and 3D-structure of these biomolecules is carefully controlled. A protein’s 3D structure determines its activity, creates receptor binding pockets and enzyme active centres.

Crystallography is one of the few methods that allows the structural determination of such macromolecules with atomic precision. By studying the interactions of crystallised molecules by means of high energy X-rays, it is possible to pinpoint the location of atoms and their bonds in a given molecule of interest.

During this course, we will set up a protein crystallisation experiment, learn the operation of high-precision pipetting robots, and cryogenically freeze protein crystals to prepare them for X-ray data collection at the synchrotron.

 

2. Manipulating cellular plasticity

Sessió a càrrec de: Isabel Calvo & Dafni Chondronasiou (Cellular Plasticity and Disease)

Idioma: Anglès

The concept of cellular plasticity has gained great relevance during the last years in the context of cancer and tissue repair. Cellular plasticity allows adult cells to regress to stem cell-like states through de-differentiation pathways.

It is possible to convert differentiated cells into pluripotent stem cells (induced pluripotent stem cells or iPSCs) by the simple expression of four transcription factors. These iPSCs are functionally equivalent to embryonic stem cells (ESCs), which are derived from the developing blastocyst and can divide indefinitely while maintaining the capacity to differentiate into any cell type of the organism.

There is an increasing interest in better understanding how these transitions occur both in vitro and in vivo and how they can be manipulated. This knowledge will be directly applied in regenerative medicine to improve current medical treatments.

Students will learn the basic techniques to culture differentiated and pluripotent stem cells and they will be trained to induce the transition between cellular states. Finally, they will have the opportunity to perform in vitro assays that will help us to recognize the ultimate state of pluripotency.

 

3. CRISPR WARS: The Gene Strikes Backs

Sessió a càrrec de: Luis Povoas (Gene Translation Laboratory)

Idioma: Anglès

Some years ago, during the process of constructing a fly model to study human diseases our lab found a very interesting protein that seems to be responsible for many different processes in the cell. This protein is a derivate of a group of proteins responsible to introduce amino acids in tRNA, to enable protein synthesis. We called it SLIMP (seryl-tRNA synthetase-like insect mitochondrial protein). Past studies suggest that this new protein has acquired an essential function in insects, being one of the most interesting results obtained so far, the role of SLIMP in cell cycle progression. To uncover more of SLIMP’s functions, our lab is using a revolutionary technology that changed the way we make science. This technology is the CRISPR editing system. This tool enables us to precisely edit the genome of live cells. With it, we can remove genes (knock-out), introduce genes (knock-in), introduce markers to follow a specific protein (tags) and others. Therefore, with this technology, we expect to uncover SLIMP intracellular location, protein-protein interactions and try to understand the SLIMP knockdown phenotypes in relation to DNA damage and cell cycle checkpoints. During this workshop, you will be introduced to concepts of molecular cloning, cell culture and CRISPR technology. May the science be with you!

 

4. From biomedicine to computational biology

Sessió a càrrec de: Alba Sala (Molecular Modelling and Bioinformatics)

Idioma: Anglès

The interaction between small molecules is essential to living organisms. Amongst these molecules we find protein and nucleic acids, whose interaction plays a crucial role in biology (e.g., in the storage, repair, expression and regulation of genetic information).

Protein-DNA interaction is mostly defined by two mechanisms: what is called a direct or base read out and an indirect or shape readout. The former describes the ability of proteins to distinguish different binding modes. The later, focuses on the importance of certain protein and DNA sequences to adopt different 3D structures which determine the binding sites. The amount of importance given to these two mechanisms varies from protein to protein, but it is crucial to understand the role of a protein’s 3D structure.

In this course we will study the 3D structure of different proteins from a computational point of view. A protein’s structure is believed to dictate its function, and once a protein’s shape is understood, its role within the essential biological mechanisms can be determined; giving then information to scientists to develop new methodologies that work with a protein’s shape.

 

5. Introduction to Drosophila melanogaster research: a versatile model in biology & medicine

Sessió a càrrec de: Bitarka Bisai (Development and Morphogenesis in Drosophila)

Idioma: Anglès

The fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, is used as a model organism to study disciplines ranging from fundamental genetics to the development of tissues and organs. Despite the obvious differences between humans and Drosophila, it is remarkable that the fruit fly shares many similarities and conserved pathways with humans. Drosophila genome is 60% homologous to that of humans, less redundant, and about 75% of the genes responsible for human diseases have homologs in flies.

Multipotency has been the focus of extensive work in biomedicine research. However, we lack much knowledge of multipotent cells in their physiological context in the full organism. During this workshop, we will address some of these issues by exploiting a naturally occurring population of multipotent cells, the adult progenitor cells (APCs) in Drosophila. In Drosophila, most larval cells, mainly polyploid, die at the transition between larval and adult stages; only the APCs survive and proceed into their terminal differentiation during metamorphosis. However, both APCs and larval cells are affected by the same nutritional and hormonal cues, suggesting that unique molecular components act in the adult progenitor cells to differentially regulate the effect of the external and the intrinsic stimuli in their unique setting.

This course provides hands-on experience of different techniques to understand Drosophila melanogaster research. You will be introduced to first steps in fly genetics through
experimentation by crossing flies, identifying genetic markers and balancer chromosomes, and applying other genetic tools used every day in the lab. We will learn about the different stages of development and the anatomy of the fly at different stages. We will also perform fly dissections and use advanced microscopy.

Semestre 2 (Maig - Novembre 2022)
1. Strategies to Understand Aging and Senescence

Sessió a càrrec de: Marta Kovatcheva & Valentina Ramponi (Cellular Plasticity and Disease)

Idioma: Anglès

Scientific research and modern medicine have dramatically extended life expectancy, with the average person in the 

developed world expected to reach 80 years of age or more. However, this extension in lifespan has had no effect on health span; that is, the number of healthy years a human lives. Aging is still characterised by multiple pathologies including frailty, heart disease, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases, among many others. 

One of the main hallmarks of ageing is cellular senescence, the phenomenon by which normal cells stop dividing. Senescent cells accumulate in an organism over time, secreting pro-inflammatory molecules and contributing to age-related diseases. There is an increasing interest in clinical medicine to better identify and target senescent cells, as their elimination may delay and ameliorate some age-associated diseases. 

This course provides hands-on experience using different techniques to induce cellular senescence in normal cells. We will learn state-of-the-art techniques to study the molecular biology of senescent cells, analysing in vitro and in vivo samples. Finally, we will perform classical protocols, such as SAβgal staining, to detect senescent cells. These techniques will help us to understand, identify and target senescent cells for clearance, which is a promising therapeutic approach to extend health span.

 

2. Mirror, Mirror on the Wall… Who Is the Most Helpful Insect of Them All? – Getting to Know Tumorigenesis Through the Fly 

Sessió a càrrec de: Elena Fusari (Development and Growth Control Laboratory)

Idioma: Anglès

The fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster has been widely used as a model organism for more than one hundred years to address biological questions in various fields. This organism has emerged as a potent tool for genetic manipulation, offering innumerable possibilities to analyze the detailed interaction between cells and tissues. 

One question could be raised: how can a tiny organism such as Drosophila melanogaster be used to understand the pathways of such a complex disease as cancer? Well, the answer is as simple as that: many biological mechanisms are well conserved across evolution, including the ones concerning pathological conditions. This is what allows scientists to translate the knowledge acquired from less complex organisms to more complex ones. For instance, 75% of human disease-related genes and 68% of human cancer-related genes have a counterpart in the fly. We are more similar to the fly than what we may think!

During this semester, we will learn how to study the complex process of tumorigenesis using this model organism, both with a local and systemic approach. We will focus mainly on carcinomas, the most common type of tumor diagnosed in humans.

Carcinomas are derived from epithelial tissue, such as the skin, and they can become invasive or metastatic by spreading beyond the primary tissue layer and surrounding tissues or organs. In aggressive cancer cells, this transition is mediated by the activation of the EMT (Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition) program, which causes the cells to undergo morphogenetic alterations that increase invasive capacity.

In this course, we will introduce you to the first steps in fly genetics. We will cross flies, identify genetic markers and balancer chromosomes, and apply other genetic tools that we use in the lab every day in order to generate tumorigenic flies and study them. We will also learn about the anatomy of the fly in adult and larvae stages and use advanced microscopy to see several genetic markers in the tumoral tissues. We will also perform in vivo dissections and their respective immunohistochemistry.

 

3. Unravelling the Molecular Structure of Life 

Sessió a càrrec de: Miriam Condeminas (Structural Characterization of Macromolecular Assemblies)

Idioma: Anglès

Proteins and nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) are the basic building blocks of life. They perform a multitude of functions–from sensing, transporting, and enzymatic regulation, to building the cell’s internal skeleton. Therefore, the fold and 3D-structure of these biomolecules is carefully controlled. A protein’s 3D structure determines its activity, creates receptor binding pockets and enzyme active centres.

Crystallography is one of the few methods that allows the structural determination of such macromolecules with atomic precision. By studying the interactions of crystallised molecules by means of high energy X-rays, it is possible to pinpoint the location of atoms and their bonds in a given molecule of interest.

During this course, we will set up a protein crystallisation experiment, learn the operation of high-precision pipetting robots, and cryogenically freeze protein crystals to prepare them for X-ray data collection at the synchrotron.

 

4. An omics complex puzzle? Let’s decipher it by using Bioinformatics!

Sessió a càrrec de: Olfat Khannous (Molecular Modelling and Bioinformatics) & Marina Murillo (Gene Translation Laboratory)

Idioma: Anglès

Complex biological diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer are caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, and in many cases we have not yet identified or established a relationship between them to shed light to the understanding of the origin and progression of such biological problems.

Multi-omics profiling and integration combines different types of data for a better understanding of these complex diseases. 

One of the branches of the ‘Omics’ sciences is transcriptomics which involves the study of all the RNA molecules (including mRNA, tRNA, rRNA, and other non-coding RNAs) within a cell, otherwise known as the transcriptome. Consequently, by analyzing the transcriptome researchers can determine if a gene is turned on or off in the cells and tissues of an organism.

On the other hand, metagenomics is the study of the genetic material (genomes) from a mixed community of organisms of a sample. It allows us to describe which microbial communities are living within each individual (microbiome) and its relationship with host genetics, diet and environment can reveal links with disease or health.

In our workshop you will be immersed in the computational world (dry lab) understanding its synergy with the experimental lab (wet lab), and you will learn how to obtain transcriptomics and metagenomics data and also how to use bioinformatics tools to analyze them and to add missing pieces to these mentioned complex puzzles.

 

5. In vivo experimental approach to study breast cancer bone metastasis

Sessió a càrrec de:

Idioma: Anglès

In a primary tumor, many cells are constantly trying to enter into the circulation, travel through the bloodstream and arrive to a new organ to form a secondary tumor. This process is called metastasis and is very inefficient. However, tumor cells sometimes acquire properties that give them the ability to succeed and form a metastasis, which usually is fatal for cancer patients.

Metastasis is a very complex process, that is why we need different tools and techniques for its study. Eventhough in vitro experimentation gives us the possibility to study different aspects of tumor cells behavior inside the lab, in vivo experimentation allows a deeper understanding of how these tumor cells develop in their natural environment.

In our lab we combine all these techniques in order to study breast cancer metastasis. We use human cancer cell lines and animal models to unravel the role of specific genes in breast cancer bone metastasis.

In this course we will learn how cells are cultured and labeled in the lab, the techniques that we use to inject them into mice, how tumor growth can be monitored and the correct way to analyze the results obtained using in vivo models.

Calendari 2022
Calendari 2022
Dissabte 22 de gener
IRB Barcelona, Carrer Baldiri Reixac 10-12
Xerrada de benvinguda + xerrada teòrica del 1r workshop
Sessió teòrica. De 10h a 14h
Dissabte 5 de febrer
IRB Barcelona, Carrer Baldiri Reixac 10-12
2 xerrades de dues temàtiques diferents
Sessió teòrica. De 10h a 14h
Dissabte 19 de febrer
IRB Barcelona, Carrer Baldiri Reixac 10-12
2 xerrades de dues temàtiques diferents
Sessió teòrica. De 10h a 14h
Dissabte 26 de febrer
IRB Barcelona, Carrer Baldiri Reixac 10-12
Pràctica 1 (en grups de 5)
Sessió pràctica. De 10h a 14h
Dissabte 12 de març
IRB Barcelona, Carrer Baldiri Reixac 10-12
Pràctica 2 (en grups de 5)
Sessió pràctica. De 10h a 14h
Dissabte 26 de març
IRB Barcelona, Carrer Baldiri Reixac 10-12
Pràctica 3 (en grups de 5)
Sessió pràctica. De 10h a 14h
Dissabte 2 d'abril
IRB Barcelona, Carrer Baldiri Reixac 10-12
Pràctica 4 (en grups de 5)
Sessió pràctica. De 10h a 14h
Dissabte 30 d'abril
IRB Barcelona, Carrer Baldiri Reixac 10-12
Pràctica 5 (en grups de 5)
Sessió pràctica. De 10h a 14h
Dissabte 21 de maig
IRB Barcelona, Carrer Baldiri Reixac 10-12
1 xerrada
Sessió teòrica. De 10h a 14h
Dissabte 4 de juny
IRB Barcelona, Carrer Baldiri Reixac 10-12
2 xerrades de dues temàtiques diferents
Sessió teòrica. De 10h a 14h
Dissabte 11 de juny
IRB Barcelona, Carrer Baldiri Reixac 10-12
2 xerrades de dues temàtiques diferents
Sessió teòrica. De 10h a 14h
Dissabte 17 de setembre
IRB Barcelona, Carrer Baldiri Reixac 10-12
Pràctica 6 (en grups de 5)
Sessió pràctica. De 10h a 14h
Dissabte 1 d'octubre
IRB Barcelona, Carrer Baldiri Reixac 10-12
Pràctica 7 (en grups de 5)
Sessió pràctica. De 10h a 14h
Dissabte 15 d'octubre
IRB Barcelona, Carrer Baldiri Reixac 10-12
Pràctica 8 (en grups de 5)
Sessió pràctica. De 10h a 14h
Dissabte 22 d'octubre
IRB Barcelona, Carrer Baldiri Reixac 10-12
Pràctica 9 (en grups de 5)
Sessió pràctica. De 10h a 14h
Dissabte 5 de novembre
IRB Barcelona, Carrer Baldiri Reixac 10-12
Pràctica 10 (en grups de 5)
Sessió pràctica. De 10h a 14h