19 October 2020 Emerging Cluster of the Human Brain (CECH)


ICFO participates in multidisciplinary collaborations to better understand the working of the brain and improve neurological healthcare The human brain is the subject of massive research efforts across the globe that are searching for understanding of how this complex organ works as well as exploring new treatments that can help patients overcome neurodegenerative disorders or brain injuries such as stroke. Researchers realize that multi-disciplinary efforts are key to unlocking the brain’s secrets as well as improving healthcare.

ICFO’s Medical Optics research group led by ICREA Professor Dr Turgut Durduran, as well as Hemophotonics, the high-tech company that spun out of ICFO in 2013 to translate this group’s light-based technologies into compact and customized systems for non-invasive measurement of cerebral hemodynamics, are involved in cutting edge research collaborations at the national and international level. They bring their unique knowledge and technology to the emerging Human Brain community through “one-of-a-kind” contributions of an imaging and monitoring platform that allows continuous and non-invasive monitoring of the brain for neuroscientists in understanding the functioning of the developing brain and for clinicians by providing the necessary information for accurate treatments.

To this end, ICFO is participating in the “Emerging Cluster of the Human Brain” (CECH) RIS3CAT initiative that is Coordinated by the University Pompeu Fabra (UPF), promoted by the Government of Catalonia within the framework of the research and innovation strategy for smart specialization in Catalonia (RIS3CAT) and co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (FEDER). In this initiative, the Medical Optics group collaborates with research institutes and industry to achieve an integrative and multi-level understanding of the human brain. The synergies created within this cluster promote the creation and integration of innovative ideas to provide solutions to current challenges in the field of neuroscience. The solution to these challenges are framed in 5 cutting-edge projects, each working to develop and transfer an innovative solution to our society

Consortium of eight leading institutions in Catalonia:
ICFO is uniquely positioned to contribute to two multi-disciplinary projects. In the first, ICFO and Hemophotonics will work with Dr Núria Sebastián (UPF) towards the development of a battery of tests to detect developmental anomalies in infants at high risk as detected in utero (during pregnancy). In the second project, which is radically different from the first, ICFO will collaborate with Dr. Mavi Sánchez (IDIBAPS), Dr Pau Gorostiza (IBEC) and Dr Gustavo Deco (UPF) on the photo-pharmacological control of the functional connectivity of the cerebral cortex in pre-clinical models.

The range of ICFO’s involvement in projects within the CECH cluster demonstrates a wide range of applications of the technologies developed in the Medical Optics group for neuroscience.


** These projects have been co-funded with 50% by the European Regional Development Fund under the framework of the ERFD Operative Programme for Catalunya 2014-2020.



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