For the second year running an IGTP PhD Student is awarded the prize for the best research paper by the ICS

- Institutional, Research

The Catalan Institute of Health (ICS) has awarded the 2021 for the best research paper in Health Science in the predoctoral category to a student at the IGTP. It is the second year running that this prize has come to the Germans Trias i Pujol Institute (IGTP). In the 2021 edition Juan Carrillo-Reixach has been recognized for an article published in the Journal of Hepatology jointly with Garazi Serna of the VHIO and Mireia Ramos-Rodríguez has received the same prize for 2020 for a paper published in Nature Genetics. Both presented their results to the representatives of the seven research institutes integrated with hospitals and primary care teams of the ICS.

Juan Carrillo-Reixach is a Student in the Childhood Oncology Group, led by Dr Carol Armengol. The group has pioneered research into hepatoblastoma, the main form of liver cancer in children, although it is considered a rare disease due to its low incidence and there are no effective treatments for the more aggressive or metastatic tumours. The winning article this year, of which Carrillo-Reixach was the first author, was published in the prestigious journal Journal of Hepatology and describes the most extensive molecular studies carried  out on hepatoblastoma. This was possible thanks to the collaboration with national hospitals and International research groups and the genomics, transcriptomics and epigenomics of a total of 159 samples from 113 children with liver cancer were studied. Using high-throughput technologies new epigenetic mechanisms of hepatoblastoma associated with the survival of these patients have been identified and for the first time hepatoblastoma patients have been stratified clinically using molecular profiling. Additionally a new molecular target was has been identified for the most aggressive tumours providing an anti-tumoural mechanism that has been tested in in vitro in cells and in vivo using patient tumours transplated into mice.

Mireia Ramos Rodríguez is now bioinformatics post-doctoral researcher; she focusses on defining the changes in cis-regulatory elements that can lead to the development of disease and programming to provide tools for other researchers to carry out their analyses. She was awarded the Prize for Best Research Paper in Health by a Predoctoral Researcher in 2020 for her article published in Nature Genetics.

As a member of the research group Endocrine Regulatory Genomics at the IGTP she participated in projects such as the Islet Regulome Browser, which enables diabetes researchers to visualize genomic data, or the discovery of how beta cells in the pancreas respond to an inflammatory environment and how this response is implicated in the risk of developing Type 1 diabetes. She is now working as a post-doctoral researcher at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, where she is continuing this line of research.

The Vall d'Hebron Campus hosted the Catalan Institute of Health Workshop 2020-2021 and all the winners are listed here. The workshop took its main theme this year as the current status of research at the ICS and in the world and covid-19 research. The format of this year's edition has been different as due to the pandemic the 2020 edition could not take place, so this year both the prizes for 2020 and 2021 were presented to the winning researchers.