Proyecto PROMPT: Hacia una medicina de precisión para la predicción de la respuesta al tratamiento del trastorno depresivo mayor

El GRIB inicia este nuevo proyecto liderado por la Universidad de Muenster (Alemania) en el que participan los investigadores Ferran Sanz, Lara Nonell y Laura I. Furlong. El objetivo es desarrollar herramientas predictivas que faciliten la toma de decisiones en el tratamiento del trastorno depresivo mayor, mejorando la prevención y gestión de esta enfermedad.     

El trastorno depresivo mayor (TDM) es la enfermedad psiquiátrica más común en todo el mundo con un enorme impacto socioeconómico. La farmacoterapia representa la primera opción de tratamiento; sin embargo, esta solo tiene éxito en alrededor del 33% de los pacientes mientras un 30% se manifiestan resistentes al tratamiento lo cual se asocia con características clínicas o genéticas específicas. 

Este proyecto representa una prueba de concepto. Los resultados obtenidos proporcionarán información sobre la viabilidad y utilidad del enfoque propuesto, con el objeto de diseñar ensayos clínicos futuros en los que los algoritmos puedan ser probados como una herramienta predictiva para apoyar la toma de decisiones de los médicos, lo que permitirá una mejor prevención y gestión de la resistencia al TDM.

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Open GRIB Seminars: join the first one on April, 27th at 10:00: "Taking full advantage of Real World Data through Biomedical Informatics"

We are going to start a series of seminars to show the research that the groups of GRIB are doing. Every two months one group will present their research to the other groups so that we can learn what is being done next door. Of course the seminars will also be open to other researchers outside the Programme.

The first seminar will take place next Tuesday, April 27th at 10:00 AM. The speaker, Miguel Angel Mayer, Senior Researcher of the Integrative Biomedical Informatics Group of GRIB will talk about 'Taking full advantage of Real World Data through Biomedical Informatics'.

The seminar will take 1 hour approximately, you can join it at this link

We wish to see you all there!


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Nounat prematur.  Font: © Yann Forget / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA.


Postnatal molecular changes associated with the fetal inflammatory response have been identified in extremely preterm newborns

The molecular changes observed after birth reveal for the first time a postnatal alteration of adaptive immunity in extremely preterm newborns affected by fetal inflammatory response before birth.

A new study provides the largest catalogue to date of postnatal molecular changes associated with the fetal inflammatory response in extremely preterm newborns. The study, published in The FEBS Journal, has been jointly coordinated by Robert Castelo, associate professor at UPF and head of the Functional Genomics group of GRIB, and Teresa Cobo, a specialist in maternal-fetal medicine at Hospital Clínic-IDIBAPS, with Daniel Costa, a paediatrician at the Fundació Salut Empordà as a first author.

"This research has allowed us to identify postnatal molecular changes associated with the fetal inflammatory response that provide clues on the mechanisms that trigger systemic inflammation", explains Robert Castelo. "A step forward in this research is to look up earlier whether we can detect these molecular changes, during pregnancy, in the amniotic fluid of women at greater risk of developing an intraamniotic infection. This research opens a window of opportunity for these vulnerable newborns as it enables redirecting their monitoring to have a positive influence on the neonatal prognosis", says Teresa Cobo. "The investigation was the result of an intense, selfless collaboration among professionals in a variety of fields, and it has been made possible thanks to the generosity of the families involved. The results of the study may help the long road to improving the health of preterm newborns and their families", Daniel Costa concludes.

Article Reference: Costa D, Bonet N, Solé A, González de Aledo-Castillo JM, Sabidó E, Casals F, Rovira C, Nadal A, Marin JL, Cobo T, Castelo R. Genome-wide postnatal changes in immunity following fetal inflammatory response. FEBS J, 2021; 288(7): 2311-2331. doi: 10.1111/febs.15578.

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The effects of treatment with antidepressant drugs evaluated through the analysis of patients’ tweets

Scientists from the Integrative Biomedical Informatics research group have identified behavioural and linguistic changes in tweets in Spanish published by users suffering from depression and who are taking medication to treat this disease.

Their work has been published in Journal of Medical Internet Research and was led by Ferran Sanz; with Angela Leis and Francesco Ronzano as first authors, who conducted the work together with Miguel Angel Mayer and Laura I Furlong, all from the Integrative Biomedical Informatics research group.

Depression is one of the most widespread mental illnesses. According to the World Health Organization, it affects more than 322 million people of all ages and is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide.

Reference article: Leis A, Ronzano F, Mayer MA, Furlong LI, Sanz F. Evaluating Behavioral and Linguistic Changes During Drug Treatment for Depression Using Tweets in Spanish: Pairwise Comparison Study. J Med Internet Res. 2020 Dec. doi: 10.2196/20920.

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Angela Leis


Thesis defence of Angela Leis: "Studying Depression through Big Data Analytics on Twitter"

Next Thursday, 18th of March at 10:30, Angela Leis, member of the Integrative Biomedical Informatics group of GRIB will read her thesis "Studying Depression through Big Data Analytics on Twitter". 

The event will be online. Free access at:

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The virtual 11th CM of the EU project eTRANSAFE was held on 16&17 of February 2021

The eTRANSAFE consortium gathered for the 11th time to assess and discuss recent project developments as well as short-term plans until the next assembly scheduled in June. During this 2-day event consisting of 6 sessions, the project partners presented the latest results aimed towards achieving the project objectives of building a translational system for toxicology assessment.

The Enhancing TRANslational SAFEty Assessment through Integrative Knowledge Management (eTRANSAFE) project develops an integrative data infrastructure and innovative computational methods and tools that aim to drastically improve the feasibility and reliability of translational safety assessment during the drug development process. This infrastructure will be underpinned by development of open standards and robust policies widely accepted by stakeholders, including regulatory agencies and international organisations.

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Decryption of a molecular code that regulates the behavior of the cells

The research group of GPCR Drug Discovery, in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur, has deciphered how nature adjusts the response of the human cell to abundant extracellular stimuli (e.g., smell, taste, light, hormones, etc.).

When a cell receives an extracellular stimulus, it initiates a signaling process that can result in major physiological changes. This process is mediated by cell membrane proteins such as G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs). Depending on the stimulus, those receptors regulate cell activity through different molecular mechanisms.

The researchers have been able to interpret one of the main molecular mechanisms of cell regulation. "Using biophysical and biochemical assays combined with state-of-the-art computer simulations, we have been able to decipher a phosphorylation code that fine-tunes the cell behaviour" explains Dr. Jana Selent, head of the GPCR Drug Discovery group and one of the co-coordinators of this study.

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The Computational Science group of GRIB participates in the AIDD Project, an innovative training network of the European Commission

The project is funded by the European Union within the framework of the Marie-Skłodowska-Curie actions with 3.93 million Euro. and is coordinated by the Helmholtz Zentrum München

The Advanced Machine Learning for Innovative Drug Discovery (AIDD) project will bring together fifteen institutions from ten European countries and the University of British Columbia (Canada) to train sixteen PhD students in close collaboration with associated partners from the USA, Australia, China, Israel and other countries. The project is funded by the European Union within the framework of the Marie-Skłodowska-Curie actions with 3.93 million Euro. and is coordinated by the Helmholtz Zentrum München.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are becoming an increasingly important working basis for the chemical industry. However, the application of AI in this field is not easy and requires extensive knowledge of chemistry. The aim of the new AIDD network is to prepare a future generation of scientists with outstanding skills in both machine learning and chemistry to innovate drug research.

"The project combines theoretical expertise with access to valuable proprietary data and the expertise of the industrial partners in medicinal and synthetic chemistry and will thus contribute innovative AI methods. Another main focus of AIDD is to train the next generation of researchers in interdisciplinary drug discovery and thus make a valuable contribution to future research in Europe", said AIDD project coordinator Igor Tetko.

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Nature Methods selects Jana Selent as the featured author of the month for August

Jana Selent, coordinator of the GPCR drug discovery group of GRIB, has been selected as the featured author of the month for the August edition in the journal Nature Methods.

Recently, the Group of Jana Selent published his latest article GPCRmd uncovers the dynamics of the 3D-GPCRome in this journal, where she presents a new tool to study one of the key elements in cell signaling, G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) which are the target of almost 40% of current drugs.

This tool, the GPCRmd platform, will help improve our understanding of the function of these receptors, which are critical for transmitting signals to the interior of cells. The design of this tool has been made possible thanks to a consortium of researchers from 23 different institutions of 10 different European countries and the United States, led by the group of Dr. Jana Selent and with important contributions from researchers of the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) in Switzerland and the Autonomous University of Barcelona.

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El Hospital del Mar y el GRIB participan en los proyectos EHDEN Pilot y EHDEN COVID-19 Rapid Collaboration

El objetivo principal del proyecto europeo EHDEN: European Health Data & Evidence Network, es la realización de análisis de datos clínicos a gran escala en Europa (Real-World Clinical Data), mediante la utilización de herramientas bioinformáticas y estándares basados en la iniciativa internacional OHDSI y OMOP common data model (CDM). EHDEN permitirá acelerar la realización de los estudios y la investigación relativos a la caracterización de los pacientes con COVID-19 y otras patologías, así como evaluar los mejores tratamientos y gestión clínica de estos pacientes, con la utilización de millones de historias clínicas en Europa. Los dos proyectos en que participa el Hospital del Mar y el GRIB están liderados por el Dr. Robert Güerri, coordinador de la Unidad COVID-19 del Servicio de Infeccionas del Hospital del Mar e investigador del Grupo de investigación en patología infecciosa y antimicrobianos del Instituto Hospital del Mar de Investigaciones Médicas (IMIM) y por el Dr. Miguel-Angel Mayer del GRIB Integrative Biomedical Informatics Group (IMIM-UPF). "EHDEN nos ofrece la posibilidad de trabajar de forma colaborativa, con herramientas bioinformáticas muy potentes para el análisis y la integración masiva de datos de fuentes muy diversas, algo que es esencial y que puede ayudar a combatir esta pandemia y salvar vidas" explica Mayer.

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