Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Final Report Summary - IMBRAIN (Improving Biomedical Research and Innovation in the Canary Islands)

Executive Summary:
To unlock and develop the research and innovation potential of CIBICAN and the ULL, a coherent series of activities were designed. From a previous SWOT analysis, we identified several impediments that must be overcome to maximize our capacities. Among others, they included the isolation from decision-making centres and resources, the excessive cost and effort required to collaborate in projects and to disseminate research achievements, the size reduction of research staff because of aging and as a result of the economical crisis, and the lack of both know-how and trained personnel to support innovation and management of intellectual property. Despite the quality of the research teams and their focus in priority areas, the problems of recruiting experienced new researchers, technical staff, and innovation managers remained a serious handicap that we were strongly committed to overcome. Thus, the main strategic objective of this project was to increase the quality of research at CIBICAN, and to build its innovation capacity to become a leading centre in Biomedicine and Health Sciences. It will have a significant impact in the promotion of regional economic and social development, and in spreading knowledge into the outermost EU regions and the near African countries. To achieve those goals, the following measures were designed: (i) Exchange of know-how and experience with EU research partnering organizations; (ii) Recruitment of experienced researchers and technical staff; (iii) Upgrading of equipment, based on existing core facilities; (iv) Elaboration of a strategic plan for intellectual property management and innovation capability building; (v) Dissemination of knowledge on health and increase the visibility of CIBICAN activities at regional, national, and EU levels. In addition, an ex-post evaluation facility was developed at the end of the project to define specific strategy actions for long-term sustainable development.

In the context of the approved proposal, the Action Plan was integrated into a specific work plan containing seven different work packages. Thus, project management and coordination of the different activities was the main task of WP1 to ensure coherence and efficiency of the entire programme. It included strategy and daily management, administrative issues, quality control and interactions with the different committees set up to monitor the progression of the Project.
WP2 contained a series of two-way secondments with selected European partnering institutions to Exchange experience and knowledge between outside experts and CIBICAN’s staff. It also covered the specific training of the relevant staff for the optimized use of newly acquired equipment.
In close connection with WP2, WP3 was devoted to the recruitment of experienced of researchers, specialised technicians and managers. Newly recruited researchers were integrated in working research teams and given the space and opportunities to develop their own research lines. However, because of the lack of a clear institutional plan in Spanish universities for the incorporation of new researchers made this point conflictive beyond the project’s end. Nevertheless, most of the hired researchers have found research opportunities within the ULL or abroad, which has made the results of this work package satisfactory.
WP4 was designed to improve the scientific and technical capabilities of CIBICAN by upgrading some of the large scientific equipment. Thus, its was translated into significant improvements in the platforms of confocal microscopy, cellular imaging, genomics and phenotype-oriented drug design. In addition, specific training of the relevant staff (WP2, WP3) was also carried out to promote the newly acquired infrastructural capabilities.
Trying to address the innovation dimension of the Project, WP5 was devoted to the elaboration of a strategic development plan for IP management and protection, and Innovation Capability building. This was performed in cooperation with several European and US organizations and experts, and has already served to improve and develop the current potential available at ULL and to create the appropriate framework at CIBICAN.
A set of communication and dissemination activities have complemented the aforementioned measures in order to increase the visibility of CIBICAN research groups in the ERA and in the research community at large, as well as at local, regional and national public levels. These actions have served both to highlight the on-going research activities and technical facilities, and to promote upcoming scientific cooperation and relevant results. Taking into account that more traditional dissemination activities were also considered, to interact with different societal actors WP6 was carried out in close connection with WP1 and WP5.
Finally, an evaluation process was performed using the available institutional Quality Assessment Unit at ULL, with the continuous assistance of both Steering Committee and the external Advisory Board, specifically set up in the context of the IMBRAIN proposal. Furthermore, this action has been complemented through an independent evaluation by experts nominated by the European Commission at the end of the project (WP7).

Project Context and Objectives:

WP1: Coordination and management
1. To establish and implement the management structures to carry out the planned activities.
2. To coordinate the different activities within each WP and implement the appropriate control mechanisms by monitoring their progress.
3. To maintain fluid communication with the EC about the progress and status of the project, as well as among networking partners.
4. To coordinate the bilateral exchanges with EU partner organizations.
5. To promote the participation in other European programmes.
6. To coordinate the dissemination activities, assuring an efficient engagement of social agents and advisors into the project.
1. Implementation of the appropriate management structure.
2. Coordination of the activities carried out in the different WPs and administrative management.
3. Communication with the project officers and partnering organizations, and coordination of bilateral exchanges.
4. Participation in European programmes and coordination of dissemination activities.
5. Engagement of stakeholders and advisors.
6. Quality control of the activities.
7. Independent evaluation of programme activities.
D1.1: Report on kick-off meeting to establish the distribution of tasks, the timetable and the roles of the Project Management Team.
D1.2: Reports on meetings with the Steering Committee and the external Advisory Boards.

WP2: Empowering research skills
1. To develop twinning interactions with European partner centres by developing two-way secondments and visits.
2. To jointly organize several types of scientific training events with the participation of researchers from the partner centres and other leading European institutions.
3. To apply for competitive calls and develop cooperative proposals for EU funding activities.
1. Twinning with the Leibniz Institute for Molecular Pharmacology (Berlin, Germany): (i) Install and set up complementary equipment in the respective institutions; (ii) Develop specific fluorescence-based methodology for the study of ion channels; (iii) Applying for competitive funds; (iv) Organization of workshop.
2. Twinning with the Centre of Molecular Biology “Severo Ochoa”, the Institute of Neurobiology “Ramón y Cajal”, and the National Centre of Biotechnology (CSIC, Madrid, Spain): (i) Training on the design and use of mouse models of neurodegenerative diseases; (ii) Exchange of know-how on different experimental models; applying for competitive calls; (iii) Organization of conference.
3. Twinning with the Centre de Recherché des Cordeliers (Paris, France): (i) Training on advance functional studies on nuclear receptors; (ii) Applying for competitive calls; (iii) Exchange of know-how on advanced methods on biomedical research; (iv) Organization o workshop.
4. Twinning with the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research (Bergamo, Italy): (i) Improving experience on design, analysis and monitoring of clinical trials; (ii) Training on gold standard method to monitor renal function; (iii) Exchange of know-how on multicentre clinical trials and applying for third party funds; organization of conference and training course.
5. Twinning with the Department of Oncology of the VU Medical Centre (Amsterdam, The Netherlands): (i) Exchange of know-how on advanced approaches for drug development; (ii) Organization of conference.
6. Twinning with the Imperial College (London, UK): (i) Training on Nuclear Magnetic Resonance and Mass Spectrometry methods; (ii) Applying for competitive EU funds and partnership development.
7. Twinning with the Departments of Economics at London City University and of Applied Health Research at University College (London, UK), and the School of Health & Related Research at Sheffield University (Sheffield, UK): (i) Training on advanced methods foe economic evaluation of health policies; (ii) Training on data analysis of missing values in clinical trials; (iii) Exchange of know-how on economical issues and health service research; (iv) Organization of workshop and training course.
8. Twinning with the EC-Joint Research Centre (Ispra, Italy): (i) Exchange of know how on the design and implementation of engagement processes; (ii) Organization of an introductory course on science communication; (iii) Applying for EU competitive funds.
D2.1: Reports on twinning with the partner centres, including joint activities developed.
D2.2: Reports on the joint organization of conferences and workshops).

WP3: Improvement of human resources
1. To improve human resources in the following research programs: (i) Brain and Related Diseases; (ii) Chronic and Age-related Diseases; (iii) Genetic-based and Rare Diseases; (iv) Cell Imaging and Proteomics; (v) Medicinal Chemistry; (vi) Societal involvements of Health Issues.
2. To improve human resources within technical staff of CIBICAN by recruiting specialised technicians, project manager and innovation manager.
1. Launching of competitive calls.
2. Evaluation of candidates.
3. Decision of contracts and administrative management.
4. Signing of contracts and incorporation of researchers and technical management staff.
D3.1: Reports on the launching of calls fro recruitment.
D3.2: Reports on evaluation of candidates, final decisions, and signing of contracts.

WP4: Improvement of scientific infrastructure
1. To upgrade and improve S&T infrastructural background by acquiring the following equipment: (i) Flow cytometer; (ii) Confocal microscope; (iii) Microcalomiter; (iv) Ultra microtome; (v) Workstations for bioinformatics analysis.
1. Initiation of public procurements for purchasing, performing of legal institutional procedures and acquisition of equipment.
2. Installation of new equipments.
3. Training of responsible investigators and technical staff.
4. Reports on the successful public procurement procedures and purchase.
5. Information on the use and availability of the new equipment and deliver it to all researchers through the web page and electronic communication means.
D4.1: Reports on public procurement tender for the purchase of equipment.
D4.2: Reports on the installed and fully functional equipment.

WP5: Strategic IP plan and innovation capability building
1. To develop and implement a comprehensive plan to build capacity on innovation and IPR management, based on a road map from the current status to the targeted best practices.
2. To develop strategic collaboration with centres of excellence in innovation and IPR management to provide world-class innovation, IPR and TT support to current projects.
3. To foster an over-arching culture of innovation within all levels of CIBICAN (research, administration, IPR management, and technology transfer).
4. To build sustainable, long-term capacity in innovation and IPR management through the recruitment, training and development of key innovation and IPR human resources, including secondments with leading centres.
5. Networking and industry outreach.
1. Development and implementation of a strategic innovation and IPR plan.
2. Building sustainable, long-term capacity in innovation and IPR management.
3. Professional secondments to centres of excellence in innovation and IPR management.
4. Coordination and collaborative twinning with innovation and IPR centres of excellence.
5. Fostering an over-arching culture of innovation.
6. Networking and industry outreach.
D5.1: Reports on capacity assessment and SWOY analysis on the state of innovation and IPR management at CIBICAN, and benchmarking report on best practices, and release of the innovation and IPR Strategic Plan.
D5.2: Report on immediate support collaborations with European centres of excellence on innovation and IPR management, including secondments.
D5.3: Release of innovation handbook for researchers.
D5.4: Reports on Innovation Summit and participation in training courses.

WP6: Dissemination, promotion and societal interactions
1. To disseminate scientific activity from CIBICAN researchers through publications in scientific journals and communications at scientific meetings.
2. To organize a series of scientific events (research, workshops and conferences) with a collaboration of researchers from partner centres (see WP2).
3. To complement the technical and scientific activities with a programme to promote the centre and the research activities carried out therein. This work package will involve the development a communication plan to ensure increased visibility of CIBICAN and its activities within ERA and elsewhere.
4. To present and discuss the activities carried out with private stakeholders, mainly those at both the Steering Committee and the Innovation and Business Advisory Board.
5. To design and implement processes of social engagement and science communication to improve societal contacts, increasing the knowledge of the societal needs of CIBICAN core scientific activities and their translational implementation.
1. Presentation and promotion of the whole programme.
2. Design and implementation of a web portal and of a periodical bulletin.
3. Publications in journals and communication in scientific meetings.
4. Organization of research seminars.
5. Organization of workshops and conferences.
6. Organization of training courses.
7. Design of a protocol of participatory procedure to approach societal needs.
8. Implementation of participatory processes to approach societal needs.
D6.1: Report on the operational web site and launch of an electronic bulletin and broadcasting programme.
D6.2: Launch of a protocol for social engagement and communication to approach societal needs.
D6.3: Reports on the implementation of participatory processes to approach societal needs.
D6.4: Reports on the participation at international scientific meetings, and reports on organized scientific events.

WP7: Evaluation facility
The objective of this WP is to develop an evaluation facility by using institutional structures, and host the activities of the experts from the EC.
1. Setting-up of the evaluation facility by mobilizing the institutional Quality Assessment Unit.
2. Organization of the visits of the evaluation experts from the EC.
3. Developing the meetings and activities proposed by the experts and the interactions with the Steering Committee and the external Advisory Boards.
4. Reception of results and presentation of them to stakeholders and regional and national authorities.
D7.1: Reports on meetings of the Steering Committee and inputs from the external Advisory Boards.
D7.2: Report on ex-post evaluation.

Project Results:
Coordination and management (WP1)
Proper coordination and management of the Project activities were carried out according to the Action Plan and through the designed work packages. The planned structure and organization allowed us to ensure the sound implementation of the Project in terms of both efficiency and consistency.

Coordination and management activities were the direct responsability of the Project Coordinator and the Project Management Team as proposed, with the daily asistance of the Management Unit created during Project development. In addition, all actions were supported by the external Advisory Boards and the Steering Committee through periodic meetings. In addition, fluid communication with two project officers sup was maintained through exchanges of information and consultancy by emails (;; Furthermore, by mobilizing human resources from the institution and the recruitment of managers by the Project, a core management structure was set up to secure the achievement of all milestones previously planned. Moreover, this kind of organization also served us to build the basis of a whole management unit for a centre like this, according to the recommendations of the externas advisors.
IMBRAIN Core Structure for Daily Management
Project coordination:
• Rafael Alonso (MD, PhD) (ULL staff–CIBICAN):
• Serafín Corral (PhD) (ULL staff–CIBICAN):
Administration and management:
• Farah Cova (BS) (project manager recruited by IMBRAIN–CIBICAN):
• Eladio Frías (BS) (assistant to prohect management):
• Alfredo Garcia (BS) (project management for EU projects):
Communication and dissemination:
• Jennifer Hernández (BSc) (Institute of Biomedical Technologies–CIBICAN):
• Juan J. Martín (BSc) (IMBRAIN subcontract):
Innovation and IPR management:
• Sebastián Jiménez (PhD) (innovation and IPR manager recruited by IMBRAIN–CIBICAN):
Business management:
• Randolph Revoredo (BSc, MBA) (Bioavance Foundation–Insular Council of Tenerife– CIBICAN):

Coordination of daily tasks was followed through weekly meetings of the project coordinators and the management staff. In addition, direct communication between the management unit and the work package coordinators were currently maintained as needed. Dates and avenues of the diferent meetings were included in the second report, and a brief statistics is shown in the table below.
IMBRAIN meetings (2013-2016)
Type of meeting Year Venue Number
Project management team 2013-2015 Universidad de La Laguna 9
Kick-off meeting 2013 Universidad de La Laguna 1
Meetings of the Innovation and Business Advisory Board 2013-2015 Universidad de La Laguna, Hotel Mencey (Sta. Cruz de Tenerife), Hotel Puerta del Camino (Santiago de Compostela), Hotel Silke (Sta. Cruz de Tenerife) 5
Meetings of the Steering Committee 2013-2016 Hotel Mencey (Sta. Cruz de Tenerife), Hotel Silke (Sta. Cruz de Tenerife), Universidad de La Laguna 4

At the project’s end, all planned tasks were performed and all milestones reached, without significant deviations. In addition, all deliverables have been delivered to the EC platform, with slight delays in respect to the planned delivery dates, as it is shown in the next table.
Empowering research skills (WP2)

The main objective was to improve our research capacity by exchange of know-how and experience with a variety of selected European centres. The selection of partners was based on the existence of previous collaborations or preliminary contacts, the recognized level of scientific quality and expertise in relation to our research programmes and long-term aims, and the commitment to develop joint collaborative projects. As a result of these actions, several new partners were added to all research programmes in addition to those previously agreed. The joint activities were carried out not only by means of two-way visits, but also through the participation in our wekkly seminar programme, organization of scientific events (see also WP6), and the preparation of collaborative projects for H2020 calls. In this respect, the participation of the new researchers recruited by the project played a relevant role in the development of these actions. All in all, it has had a significant increase in the number of actual collaborations in all research areas. This section is a summary of the different joint activities carried out in each researcher programme.

Research Programme: Brain and Related Diseases
Partner centres • Leibniz Institute for Molecular Pharmacology (FMP, Berlin, Germany).
• Center for Molecular Biology Severo Ochoa (CBMSO, C.S.I.C., Madrid, Spain).
• Institute of Neurobiology Ramon y Cajal (INRyC, C.S.I.C., Madrid, Spain).
• Institute of Biomedical Research (IRB, Barcelona, Spain).
• Karolinska Institute (KI, Stockholm, Sweden).
• University of Umea (Umea, Sweden).
• Centre des Sciences du Gout et de’Alimentation (CSGA, Dijon, France).
• Neuroscience Laboratory (NL, University Pablo de Olavide, Sevilla, Spain).
• Adams Super Center for Brain Studies, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel).
• Ion Channel Biotechnology Centre (ICBC, Dundalk Institute of Technology, Dundalk, Ireland).
Participants from CIBICAN/ULL Staff: Teresa Giráldez, Rafael Alonso, Tomás González, Diego Álvarez de la Rosa.
Newly recruited researchers: Angel Acebes, Pedro Barroso, Germán Cuesto, José L. Herrera, Daniel J.Marcellino, Héctor Estévez, Diego L. Ravelo, Ninovska Romero, Laura Sayas.
Participants from partner centres Andrew Plested (FMP, Berlin); Jesús Ávila, Francisco Wandosell (CBMSO, Madrid); Luis M. García Segura, Alberto Ferrús, Oscar Herreras (INRyC, Madrid); Illona Gozes (TU, Tel Aviv); Claude Everaerts, Jean Gascuel, Yael Grosjean (CSGA, Dijon); Joan Guinovart, Jordi Durán (IRB, Barcelona); José M. Delgado (NL, UPO, Sevilla); Daniel Marcellino (Umea); Mark Hollwood (ICBC, Dundalk); Christian Broberger, André Fisahn, Mikael Altun (KI, Stockholm).
Research Programme: Chronic and Age-related Diseases affecting the Quality of Life
Partner centres • Centre de Recherche des Cordeliers (CRC, Paris, France).
• Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research (MNIPR, Bergamo, Italy).
Participants from CIBICAN/ULL Staff: Diego Álvarez de la Rosa, Armando Torres, Tersa Giráldez, Juan Francisco Navarro.
Newly recruited researchers: Esteban Porrini, Sergio Luis Lima.
Participants from partner centres Nicolette Farman, Frederic Jaisser (CRC, Paris); Flavio Gaspari, Giuseppe Remuzzi (MNIPR, Bergamo).
Research Programme: Genetic-based and Rare Diseases
Partner centres • Centre of Molecular Biology Severo Ochoa (CBMSO, Madrid, Spain).
• Institute of Biomedical Research (IRB, Barcelona, Spain).
• Institute of Biomedicine and Biotechnology (IBB, Santander, Spain).
Participants from CIBICAN/ULL Staff: Eduardo Salido, Rafael Alonso.
Newly recruited researchers: Araceli Morales, José L. Herrera, Leticia González León.
Participants from partner centres Joan Guinovart, Jordi Durán (IRB, Barcelona); Luis Blanco (CBMSO, Madrid); Ignacio Varela (IBB, Santander).
Research Programme: Medicinal Chemistry and Innovation
Partner centres • VU University Medical Center (VUMC, Amsterdam, The Netehrlands).
• Biomolecular Medicine Section, Imperial College (ICL, London, UK).
• Medical Research Council Technology (MRCT, London, UK).
Participants from CIBICAN/ULL Staff: José Manuel Padrón, Rafael Alonso, Serafín Corral, Manuel Norte, Javier Fernández.
Newly recruited researchers: Leticia González León, Antonio Hernández Daranas, Sebastián Jiménez, Miguel Fernandes, Romen Carrillo.
Participants from partner centres Godefridus J. Peters, Elisa Giovanetti (VUMC, Amsterdam); Muireann Coen, Caroline Sands, John Lindon (ICL, London); Mike Johnson, Dave Pardoe, Andy Murray, Ranmaly Nawaratne (MRCT, London).
Research Programme: Societal Involvements of Health Issues
Partner centres • London City University (LCU, London, UK).
• University College (UCL, London, UK).
• School of Health & Related Research at Sheffield University (SHRR, Sheffield, UK).
• EC-Joint Research Center (JRC, Ispra, Italy).
Participants from CIBICAN/ULL Staff: Pedro Serrano (SCS), Ivan Castilla (SCS), Serafín Corral.
Newly recruited researchers: Laura Vallejo.
Participants from partner centres Mirela Jofre-Bonet, Patricia Cubillo (LCU, London); Stephen Morris, Rachel Hunter (UCL, London); James Chilcott (SHRR, Sheffield); Angela Guimaraes (JRC, Ispra).

Number of individual participants, research centres and countries
Research Program Nº of partner centres Nº of countries Nº of participant researchers
CIBICAN Partners Total
Brain and related diseases 9 61 12 18 30
Chronic and age-related diseases 2 2 7 4 11
Genetic and rare diseases 3 1 5 5 10
Medicinal chemistry and innovation 6 4 14 132 272
Societal involvements of health issues 4 2 5 7 12

1France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and United Kingdom.
2Since the number of different people from MRCT involved in the twinning actions was actually large, only representatives from these partner centres have been estimated.

Main outcomes resulting from exchanges and secondments with EU partner centres
Publications and selected presentations
(in bold, CIBICAN researchers; underlined, researchers from partner centres; *researchers hired by IMBRAIN)
• P Miranda, JE Contreras, AJR Plested, FJ Sigworth, M Holmgren, T Giráldez. State-dependent FRET reports calcium- and voltage-dependent gating-ring motions in BK channel. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2013; 110:5217-22.
• JL Herrera*, R Alonso, L Ordoñez-Gutierrez, E Salido, G Hernandez, A Morales, M Diaz, V Martin, N Fabelo, J Marrero-Alonso, LM Garcia-Segura, F Wandosell. Synergistic effect between chronic estradiol treatment and DHA-enriched diet on Aβ burden in APPswe/PSEN1∆E9 mice. Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, Washington, 2015.
• JL Herrera*, L Ordoñez-Gutierrez, G Fabrias, J Casas, E Salido, A Morales, G Hernandez, LM Garcia-Segura, R Alonso, F Wandosell. Brain lipidome remodelled by dietary DHA synergizes with estradiol to reduce amyloid-β accumulation in a mouse model of AD. Submitted to Plos Biology.
• J Avila, N Pallas, M Bolos, CL Sayas*, F Hernandez. Intracellular and extracellular microtubule associated protein tau as a therapeutic target in Alzheimer disease and other tautopathies. Expert Opin Ther Targets. 2016; Feb 16:1-9 [Epub ahead of print].
• CL Sayas*, E tortosa, F Bollati, S Ramirez-Rios, I Arnal, J Avila. Tau regulates the localization and function of end-binding proteins 1 and 3 in developing neuronal cells. J Neurochem. 2015; 133(5):653-67.
• CL Sayas*, J Avila. Regulation of EB1/3 proteins by classical MAPs in neurons. Bioarchitecture. 2014; 4(1):1-5.
• CL Sayas*, J Avila. Crosstalk between axonal classical microtubule-associated proteins and end-binding proteins during axon extension: possible implications in neurodegeneration. J Alzheimers Dis. 2014; 40 Duppl1:S17-22.
• S Messaudib B Gravez, A Tarjus, V Pelloux, A Ouvrard-Pascaud, C Delcayre, J Samuel, J-M Launaay, C Sierra-Ramos, D Alvarez de la Rosa, K Clement, N Farman, F Jaisser. Aldosterone-specific activation of cardiomyocyte mineralcorticoid receptor in vivo. Hypertension. 2013; 61(2):361-7.
• B Gravez, A Tarjus, R Jimenez-Canino, S El Mograhbi, S Messaoudi, D Alvarez de la Rosa, F Jaisser. The diuretic torasemide does not prevent aldosterone-mediated mineralcorticoide receptor activation in cardiomyocytes. PLoS One. 2013; 8(9):e73737.
• R Urbanet, A Nguyen Dinh Cat, A Feraco, B Gravez, S El Mograhbi, D Alvarez de la Rosa, D Quilliot, P Rossignol, N Venteclef, K Clement, F Fallo, RM Touyz, F Jaisser. Adipocyt mineralcorticoid receptor activation leads to metabolic syndrome and induction of prostaglandin D2 synthase. Hypertension. 2015; 66(1):149-57. Article selected for an invited editorial commentary.
• AP de Vries, P Ruggenenti, XZ Ruan, M Praga, JM Cruzado, IM Bajema, VD D’Agati, HJ Lamb, D Pongrac Barlovic, R Hojs, M Abbate, R rodriguez, CE Mogensen, E Porrini* [ERA-EDTA Working Group Diabesity]. Fatty kidney: emerging role of ectopic lipid in obesity-related renal disease. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol. 2014; 2(5):417-26.
• E Porrini*, P Ruggennenti, CE Mogensen, D Drazenka, D Pongrac Barlovic, M Praga, JM Cruzado, R Hojs, M abate, APJ de Vries [ERA-EDTA Working Group Diabesity]. A role for non-proteinuric pathways in loss of renal function in patients with type-2 diabetes? Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol. 2015; 3(5):382-91.
• S Luis-Lima*, F Gaspari, E Porrini*, M Garcia-Gonzalez, N Batista, F Bosa-Ojeda, I Oramas, F Carrara, JM Gonzalez-Posada, D Marrero, E Salido, A Torres, A Jimenez-Sosa. Measurement of glomerular filtration rate: internal and external validation of the iohexol plasma clearance technique by HPLV. Clin Chim Acta. 2014; Mar 20; 430:84-5.
• S Luis-Lima*, D Marrero-Miranda, A Gonzalez-Rinne, A Torres, JM Gonzalez-Posada, A Rodriguez, E Salido, A Aldea-Perona, F Carrara, JA Gonzalez-Gerique, N Negrin-Mesa, L Perez-Tamajon, F Gaspari, F Carrara, F Gonzalez-Posada, A Rodriguez... E Porrini*. Estimated glomerular filtration rate in renal transplantation: the nephrologist in the mist. Transplantation. 2015; Dec 99(12):2625-33.
• M Maftouth, AAvan, R Sciarrillo, C Granchi, LG Leon*... G Peters, E Giovanetti. Synergistic interaction of novel lactate dehydrogenase inhibitors with gemcitabine agiants pancreatic cancer cells in hypoxia. Br J Cancer. 20014; 110(1):172-82.
• E Giovanetti, LG Leon*. New strategies and applications for drugs targeting EGFR and c-met. Curr Drugs Targets. 2014; 15(14):1261-2.
• E Galvani, J Sun, LG leon*... G Peters, E Giovanetti. NF-kB drives acquired resistance to a novel mutant selective EGFR inhibitor. Oncotarget. 2015; Dec 15;6(40):42717-32.
• M Santarpia, C Rolfo, GJ Peters, LG Leon*, E Giovanetti. On the pharmacogenetics of non-small cell lung cancer treatment. Expert Opin Drug Metab Toxicol. 2016; 12(3):307-17.
• A Daranas*, O Cailles*, M Coen, D Garcia, A Novelli, J Franco, P Riobo, J Fernandez. NMR metabolomics for the evaluation o diahrreic sehlfish poisoning toxin effects. 11th Annual Interantional Conference of the Metabolomics Society. San Francisco, 2015.
• EJ Culme-Seymor, K Mason, L Vallejo-Torres, C Carvalho, L Paratington, C Crowley, NJ Hamilton, EC Toll, CR Butler, MJ Elliot, MA Birchall, MW Lowdel, C Mason. Cost of stem cell-based tissue-engineered airway transplants in the United Kingdom: Case series. Tissue Eng Part. 2015; Dec24 [Epub ahead of print].
• L Vallejo-Torres, I Castilla, ML Couce, C Perez-Cerda, E Martin-Hernandez, M Pineda, J Campistol, A Arrospide, S Morris, P Serrano-Aguilar. Cost-effectiveness analysis of a National Newborn Screening Program for biotinidase deficiency. Pediatrics. 2015; 136(2):e424-32.
• J Kinge, L Vallejo-Torres*, S Morris. Income-related inequalities in avoidable mortality in Norway: a population-based study using data from 1994-2011. Health Policy.2015; 119(7):889-98.
• L Vallejo-Torres, I Castilla, N Gonzalez, R Hunter, P Serrano-Perez, L Perestelo-Perez. Cost-effectiveness of electroconvulsive therapy compared to repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation for treatment-resistant severe depression. A decision model. Psychol Med. 2015; 45(7):1459-70.
• L Vallejo-Torres*, D Hale, S Morris, RM Viner. Income-related inequality in health and health-related behaviours: exploring the equalisation hypothesis. J Epidemiol Comm Health. 2014; 68(7):615-21.
• A Martin-Peña, A Acebes*, JR Rodriguez, V Chevalier, S Casas-Tinto, R Strauss, A Ferrus. Cell types and coincidence synapses in the ellipsoid nody of Drosophila. Eur J Neurosci. 2014; 39(10):1586-601.
• G Cuesto*, S Jordan, JR Alvarez, L Enriquez-Barreto, A Ferrus, M Morales, A Acebes*. GSK3β inhibition promotes synaptogenesis in Drosophila and mammalian neurons. PLoS One. 2015; Mar12;10(3):e0118475.
• S Garcia-Gomez, A Reyes, MI Martinez-Jimenez, ES Vhocron, S Mouron, G Terrados, E Salido, H Menendez, IJ Holt, L Blanco. PrimPol, an archaic primase/polymerase operating in human celles.Mol Cell. 2013;52(4):541-53
Grants applied in collaboration r directly resulting from collaboration with EU partners
• Senate Committee Competition, Leibniz Association (2013, 693,000 €). Illuminating the activation of glutamate receptors with fluorescent probes. PI: A.R. Plested (Collaborator: T. Giraldez).
• ISCIII/MINECO (2013). Study of new mechanisms involved on ionic regulation of cell excitability underlying neuronal damage and neurologival diseases (PS12/00428, 102,850 €). PI: T. Giraldez (Collaborator: A.R. Plested).
• Leibniz Association (2013). Optical silencing and recording of neurotransmission n the mammalian brain. PI: J. Poulet (Collaborator: T. Giraldez).
• EXPLORA-MINECO (2014). Optoelectrical dynamics of ion channel activation and subcellular nanodomains (OPDICS, SAF2013-50085-EXP, 75,000 €). PI: T. Giraldez (Collaborator: A.R. Plested).
• MINECO (2014). Funding for scientific equipment (80,000 €). PI: T. Giraldez (Collaborator: A.R. Plested).
• European Research Council Consolidator (ER, 2015). Optoelectrical dynamics of ion channel activation and calcium nanodomains (ERC-2014-C0G648936-NANOPDICS, 2,000,000 €). PI: T. Giraldez.
• European Research Council Consolidator (ER, 2015). (ERC-2014-GLUACTIVE, 2,000,000 €). PI: A.R. Plested. These two applications were presented as a result of the collaboration between both laboratories during IMBRAIN secondments.
• MINECO (2014). Molecular basis of aldosterone multisystenic effects: a key to novel therapeutic approaches in mineralcorticoid pathophysiology (BFU2013-47089; 102,850 €). PI: D. Alvarez de la Rosa (Collaborator: F. Jaisser).
• Funded grant from the Ducth Cancer Society (KFW) and Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation. PI: E. Giovanetti (Collaborator: L. G. Leon).
• L.G.Leon received a 2-year fellowship in the Cancer Pharamcology Laboatory at Pisa University (Advisor: E. Giovanetti).
Main exchange activities that produced outcomes related to knowledge and technology transfer
• Rafael Alonso and Serafin Corral made a short visit to MRCT (London) to get a complete knowledge on its organization in relation to the whole process of technology transfer in the field of biomedicine and life sciences. Main outcome: Design of a working program for training and CIBICAN capacity building.
• Sebastián Jiménez stayed at MRCT to learn the in-house process for technology transfer, licensing and commercialization, and to get deep insights into the concept of innovation culture: (i) Anaysis of the use of due diligence tools; (ii) development of gap funds; (iii) Business development of biomedical research projects; (iv) Searching for public and rivate partnerships. Main outcome: Elaboration of digital and printed materials to be sed as innovation guides for researchers.
• Ranmaly Nawaratne visited the ULL to explain the process and services offered by MRCT to the development of research projects at CIBICAN. In addition, R.N. performed an analysis of a selection of projects and interviewed the available researchers on the potential of their on-going research projects. Main outcome: Report delivered to MRCT.
• Andrew Merryt made a short visit to the ULL to meet selected researcher teams in the field of Medicinal Chemistry, and to explain the most efficient procedures for the creation of a chemical library. Main outcome: Report delivered to MRCT.
• Romen Carrillo and Miguel Fernandes visited MRCT to learn main general methodologies and processes used for the development of small molecules and antibodies against molecular targets. Main outcome: Report delivered to CIBICAN on: (i) Target validation, action mechanisms and side effects; (ii) Analysis of competition (freedom to operate, clinical trials, specific pathways and family structures; (iii) Commercial analysis (market opportunities and market value).
• Jose M. Padron, Sebastian Jimenez and Randolph Revoredo made different visits to Ascenion (Munich) to learn the general aspects of the following topics: (i) Development projects; (ii) Processes and procedures of technology assessment and market research; (iii) Patenting process and licensing contracts; (iv) Basis and management of a KTTO; (v) Creation of spin-offs and rising of ventur capital. Main outcome: Reports delivered to CIBICAN on the most appropriate structure and organization of out KTT capacity and the relationship with the market and promotional activities.
• Christian Stein made one week visit to CIBICAN to have several meetings with researchers that lead promising projects, in order to identify those technologies with the highest potential for promotion, In addition, C.S. met members of the IMBRAIN management team to analyse and discuss the actual structure of our KTTO. Main outcome: Delivering of a report on the design and development of a KTTO adapted to our potential and needs.

In addition to the above mentioned outcomes, the training and advisory process produced important impacts that have been listed in different reports, and can be summaryzed as follows:
o Preparation of an application for the GlaxoSmithKline’s 2015 Discovery Fast Track Challenge. This proposal, presented by Eduardo Salido and Miguel Fernandes, was targeted to investigate a rare disease named Primary Hyperoxalury Type I, and was selected for being developed.
o After preparation of a business plan and a project by Eduardo Salido and Miguel Fernandes, a spin-off has been created for the search of new molecules.
o With the advise of Ascenion, a business plan and a project for the creation of a new spin-off has been designed, based on the invention of Esteban Porrini to monitor renal function in special clinical situations.
o Preparation of a patent application (P-201431900 – A method to determine the compelx amplitude of electromagnetic field associated with a scene; inventor: Jose M. Rodriguez). This patent has been licensed to Wooptix, and a technology-based company has been recently created for the explotaition of results related to 3D cameras.
o Promotion of different technologies to be presented to Biovaria 2015 and 2016, and to CIBICAN Innovation Summit has been carried out along the project, with the support and advise of the IMBRAIN Advisory Board.
Other exchange activities that are now on-going as emergent collaborations
• Through several long visits of J.L. Herrera, and certain short visits of A. Morales and R. Alonso to IRB (Barcelona), of J. Duran and J Guinovart from ITB to CIBICAN, different experiments were carried out on the pathophysiology of POMPE disease and the search for new therapeutic approaches. The results have produced a PhD Thesis that was defended last March (Study of muscle pathophysiology in Pompe disease: Identification of potential therapeutic targets), and a manuscript is now being prepared. In addition, J.L. Herrera spent a week at the Centre of Genomic Regulation (CRG, Barcelona), hosted by Eva Borras, to get specialized training in animal housing and genotyping.
• Through the collaboration between the ULL and the School of Life Sciences at the University Medical Center Hamburg Eppendorf, an exchange program was set up by Angel Acebes and Rafael Alonso at CIBICAN, and Olaf J.C. Hellwinkel at The School of Life Sciences. As a result approximately 10-15 students have been hosted at ULL for 4 months during 2014 and 2015, to be trained in laboratpry skills and experimental approaches in biomedical research.
• L.G. Leon sent a total of 5 months at the Institute of Biomedicine and Biotechnology (IBB, Santander), hosted by Ignacio Varela, to set up a pipeline for Copy Number Variation analysis and Structural Analysis using whole genome and whole exome data. This activity has also served to set up a platform for Liquid Biopsis using free tumor DNA (or circulating tumor DNA) and NGS (targeted sequencing) for the diagnosis of certain types of cancer.
• Laura Sayas stayed at the Adams Brain Supercentre at Tel Aviv University, hosted by Illona Gozes, which has resulyed in the preparations of two manuscripts and the participation in two EU consortia to apply for callas of H2020.
• G. Cuesto and E. Porrini started a new collaboration with A.M. Wagner, from the Department of Medical & Sugical Sciences at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, to use an obese transgenic mouse model in the study of the effects of different diets on the development od diabetes.
• T. Giraldez and D. Alvarez de la Rosa are participating in a proposal to be presented to H2020-MSCA-ITN-2015, lead by M. Hollywood (Ion Channel Biotechnology Centre, Dundalk), to study the biochemistry and biophysics of ion channel activation at selected domains of the plasma membrane of excitable cells.
• T. Giraldez, D. Alvarez de la Rosa and N. Armas initiated a collaboration with A. Ferrus and O. Herreras, at the Institute of Nuerobiology Ramn y Cajal (CSIC, Madrid), to use a transgenic mouse developed at CIBICAN for the study the role of SGK1 activity in the development of epilepsy.
• A. Acebes is working in the creation of a consortium with seven different EU centres to prepare a proposal to H2020 calls for the search of new therapies against alimentary diseases.
• Daniel J. Marcellino, after leaving CIBICAN and being hired at the University of Umea, has reached an agreement with the ULL to participate in PhD programs.

Improvement of human resources (WP3)
The main objective was to improve the level of knowledge and scientific skills of the staff and to enhance the human resource background on the research potential of our research programmes. Most hiring processes were ccaried out during the first months, even though some additional calls were launches during the second year. Briefly, the general schedule for all the hiring processes indluded the following steps: (i) Launching of competitive calls according to the ULL administrative public procedures for recruitment; (ii) Selection of candidates by specific committees formed by CIBICAN senior researchers; (iii) Evaluation of selected candidates by externas scientific committees; (iv) Interviewing the selected candidates; (v) Final decision, signing of contracts, and incorporation to the corresponding departments, research teams and institutes.
The final distribution of researchers, technicians and managers is summarized in the next tables:

Researchers with international experience to lead new teams
Programme on brain and related diseases
• Pedro Barroso (PhD) – Pathogenesis of Parkinson disease: 02/05/2013–30/11/2015.
• Angel Acebes (PhD) – Synaptic restoration as a possible therapy for Alzheimer’s disease: 03/07/2013–30/11/2015.
• Daniel J. Marcellino (PhD) – Molecular mechanisms of action of DA stabilizers: 01/10/2013–30/11/2015.
• Laura Sayas (PhD) – Molecular mechanisms of HDAC6 regulation: implications for neurodegeneration: 01/10/2013–30/11/2015.
Programme on genetic-based and rare diseases
• David Gillespie (PhD) – Trageting DNA damage responses for cancer therapy: 15/07/2013–30/11/2015.
• Miguel X. Fernandes (PhD) – MicroRNAs–a potential cause for cancer Drug Resistance in hematological malignancies: a translational approach o identify and eliminate these hidden targets: 01/10/2013–30/11/2015.
Programme on chronic and age-related diseases affecting the quality of life
• Esteban Porrini (MD, PhD) – Non-proteinuric way of renal dysfunction in type2-diabetes: 02/05/2013–30/11/2015.
Programme on medicinal chemistry
• Antonio H. Daranas (PhD) – Structure of biomolecules and thermodynamics of their interactions: 02/05/2013–30/11/2015.
• Ana R. Diaz-Marrero (PhD) – Activation of “silent” metabolic pathways of actinomycetes. Novel active metabolites and biological tools: 01/10/2013)–30/11/2015.
• Romen Carrillo (PhD) – A novel approach to targeted drug delivery: molecular capsules assembled by mechanical bonds: 01/10/2013–30/11/2015.
Program on societal involvements of health issues
• Laura Vallejo (PhD) – Cost-effectiveness of multi-component interventions for patients and health care professionals in the management of type-2 diabetes: 03/06/2013–30/11/2015.

Researchers with advanced training and experience to rule out core scientific equipment
Advanced Confocal Microscopy Core Unit
• Maria A. Morales (PhD) – Management of Confocal Microscopy Unit: 15/04/2013–01/06/2015.
Flow Citometry Core Unit
• Leticia G. Leon (PhD) – Management of Flow Cytometry Unit: 01/07/2013–03/03/20141.
• Maria J. Dominguez (PhD) – Management of Flow Cytometry Unit: 03/03/2014–30/11/20151.
Bioinformatics Core Unit
• Luis F. Lorenzo (PhD): Management of Bioinformatics Unit (03/06/2013–28/02/2014)1
• Leticia G. Leon (PhD): Management of Bioinformatics Unit (03/06/2013–30/11/2015)1
Microcalorimetry Core Unit
• Ana Serrano (PhD) – Management of Micralorimetry Unit: 02/05/2013–10/11/20132.
• Oliver Callies (PhD) – Management of Micralorimetry Unit: 16/09/2014–15/11/20152.

1 L.F. Lorenzo renounced to his position after getting a job elsewere. Thereafter, L.G. Leon was appointed to the Bioinformatics Core Unit. Subsequently, M.J. Dominguez was appointed to the Flow Cytometry Core Unit.
2 A. Serrano renounced to her position after getting a job elsewere. Thereafter, O. Callies was appointed to the Microcalorimetry Core Unit.

Postdocs and PhD students to reinforce successful research programs
Programme on brain and related diseases
• German Cuesto (PhD) – Synaptic restoration as a possible therapy for Alzheimer’s disease: 07/04/2014–06/11/2015.
• Hector M. Estevez (BS) – Technical support to Behavioral Unit: 21/04/2014–20/11/2015.
• Ninovska Romero (BS) – Synaptic restoration as a possible therapy for Alzheimer’s disease: 09/02/2015–08/11/2015.
• Josamar Salas (BS) – Technical support to Brain Bank: 01/10/2014–01/08/2015.
Programme on genetic-based and rare diseases
• Jose L. Herrera (BS) – Twinning with the CBMSO, the Cajal’s Institute and the IRB: 17/12/2013–30/11/2015.
Programme on chronic and age-related diseases affecting the quality of life
• Sergio L. Lima (BS) – Twinning with the MNI and development a protocol for renal function monitoring: 16/12/2013–30/11/2015.
Programme on medicinal chemistry and innovation
• Fernando R. Pinacho (PhD) – A novel approach to targeted drug delivery: molecular capsules assembled by mechanical bonds: 01/07/2014–31/10/2015.

Project and innovation managers
Core office for project management, communication, and knowledge & technology transfer
• Farah Cova (BS) – Project management: 01/04/2013–31/05/2016.
• Sebastian Jimenez (PhD) – Innovation and intellectual property management: 01/04/2013–31/05/2016.
• Alfredo Garcia (BS) – European projects scouting and advising: 09/02/2015–31/05/2016.
• Eladio Frias (BS) – Project management: 06/04/2015–31/05/2016.

Total number of researchers, technical staff and managers per programme and unit
Programme or Unit PhDs PhD students Managers Total
Brain and Related Diseases 4 2 6
Genetic and Rare Diseases 2 1 3
Chronic & Age-related Diseases 1 1 2
Medicinal Chemistry 4 4
Societal Involvements of Health 1 1
Technological Platforms 6 6
Management Office 3 3
Technology Transfer Office 1 1
Total number
Women 19

1 3
1 26

As already emphasized in the first report, a significant impact IMBRAIN has been an increase of the critical mass in terms of research teams and a number of new research lines, thus producing a great improvement of our research, technological and innovation capacity. This has been the result, not only from the hiring of new researchers, but also from the incorporation of research groups from other university departments. In this respect, all research programmes have been expanded as well as the corresponding networks and potential collaborations with European partner centres (see WP2).

In terms of sustainability and impact, the following aspects should be emphasized: (i) Esteban Porrini applied to the Spanish program “Ramon y Cajal” and, after being granted, was incorporated to the Department of Medicine and the Institute of Biomedical Tcehnologies at ULL; (ii) Pedro Barroso obtained a position of Associate professor of Human Anatomy and has been recently incorporated to the Department of Basic Medical Sciences at ULL; (iii) Laura Vallejo has got a position of Research Associate in Health Economics in the Department of Applied Health and the Research Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care (University College, London); (iv) Daniel J. Marcellino has got a position of Associate Professor in the Department of Integrative and Medical Biology at Umea University Schoolof Medicine (Umea, Sweden); (v) Leticia G. Leon has been granted with an Interntional Cancer Research Fellowship (iCARE) from the Asociazione Italiana per Ricerca sul Cancro, cofunded by the EC from Marie Curie Actions-People-COFUND program, and she has been incorporated as PI to the Laboratory of Cancer Pharmacology at the University of Pisa; (vi) Romen Carrillo applied to the Spanish Programme for Young Researchers and got a 3-year grant at the Institute of Bio-Organics (CIBICAN, ULL); (vii) Miguel Fernandes has participated in the creation of a spin-off to search for new molecules against a metabolic rare disease, and has been recruited as general manager; (viii) Farah Cova has been hired by a Spanish audit specialized in European projects; (ix) Sebastián Jiménez and Alfredo García have been hired at the Institute of Asrtophisics of the Canary Islands; and (x) Antonio Hernández applied to a call at the Institute of Natural Products (CSIC, Tenerife) and got a permanent position. All these outcomes are indicative of the success of the researchers and managers, and they are examples of the project impact in terms of employment.

Improvement of scientific infrastructures (WP4)

The main objective was to upgrade and improve the S&T infrastructural background of CIBICAN, to make it suitable to carry out the planned and on-going research programmes at the highest levels. As a result, the following services are now active: (i) Advanced Core Microscopy; (ii) Bioinformatics Unit; (iii) Structural Biology and Metabolomics Unit; (iv) Rodent Phenotyping Core Unit. In addition, the use of funds allocated to this work package, according to what was planned in the proposal, has allowed the new researchers to initiate the implementation of new research lines.

The next table shows the main equipments that were acquired, installed and implemented:

Advanced Microscopy and Cell Imaging Core Unit
• Flow Citometry.
• Confocal microscopy and FRET.
• Ultramicrotome.
Bioinformatics Core Unit
• Workstations.
• Software.
Structural Biology and Metabolomics Core Unit
• Microcalorímeter.
• HPLC systems (2).
Phenotype Core Unit
• Complements and accessories for behavioral studies.
Start-ups, small laboratory equipment and technical services
• Start-up funding for the newly recruited researchers to establish their research lines.
• Small equipment, accessories and technical services

Strategic plan and innovation capability building (WP5)

The main objective was the development of a strategic plan for innovation and IPR management and to foster a culture for innovation. This should ensure bith shirt-term quality in innovation, IPR management and technology transfer, as well as the development of world-class internal capacity in the long term. These activities were carried out in collaboration with external experts in innovation and technology transfer in the field of life sciences, and with the continuous advise of specific members of the Steering Committee.

The details of the actions that were performed have been given in the corresponding periodic reports. The following section is a summary of the main outcomes.

Development and implementation of a comprehensive plan designed to build capacity in innovation and IPR management
1. The capacity of the ULL was assessed through an analysis of the policy environment and the structural support mechanisms for IPR and innovation, as well as the human resources dedicated to those tasks.
2. The second step consisted of an evaluation of that capacity through bechmarking and from a relative perspective in relation to established best practices of leading biomedical universities and research institutes. Among others, they included the Institute of Biomedical Research (IRB, Barcelona), Stanford University (Stanford, California), the Technology Institute of Bergen (BTO, Norway), the Medical Research Council Technology (MRCT, London) and Ascenion (munich).
3. Based upon the assesement mentioned above and a SWOT analysis, a final set of recommendations for specific changes was made, together with a proposal of which best practices can most effectively be localized at CIBICAN and which is the optimal structure for its knowledge and technology transfer office. As a result, a strategic plan was elaborated and published, which can be accessed from the web site. In addition, a set of guides to advise researchers in the process of innovation were also edited and published.
Building sustainable, long-term capacity in innovation and IPR management
A specific training plan was developed through participation in industru technology transfer, licensing programmes led by key international organizations, like the Association of Science and Technology Professionals (ASTP). In addition, we have collaborated with European centers of excellence in innovation and IPR management, and have worked together with two companies (Ascenion and MRCT) in the analysis of promising projects at CIBICAN. The actions that were developed can be summarized as follows:

Training and certification

Through a professional package contracted to ASTP-Proton the following master classes and conferences were attended: (i) Advanced Course on Patents in Biotechnology and Biomedicine (Patent Centre and Spanish Patent & Trademark Office; Sebastián Jiménez, 25-26 October, 2013); (ii) ASTP Annual Conference: Exploring resources, creating impact (Oslo, 14-16 May 2014; Jennifer Hernández and Sebastián Jiménez); (iii) Masterclass: Valuation of early stage spin-outs (Oslo, 14-16 May 2014; Sebastián Jiménez); (iv) Masterclass: Post-licensing management – Getting the right share of the deal (Oslo, 14-16 May 2014; Jennifer Hernández); (v) Training Course: Creating successful spin-outs (Budapest, 24-26 September 2014; Sebastián Jiménez); (vi) Training Course: Fundamentals of tehchnology transfer (Budapest, 24-26 September 2014; Sebastián Jiménez); (vii) Fall Meeting: Working together, sharing experiences (Prague, 12-14 November 2014; Sebastián Jiménez, Randolph Revoredo; (viii) Training Course Marketing & deal making (Sitges, 21-23 January 2015; Jennifer Hernández, Sebastián Jiménez); (ix) Training Course: Research & development collaborations (Lewen, 23-25 September 2015); Jennifer Hernández, Sebastián Jiménez). As a result of this training process, two members of the IMBRAIN team applied for the Registered Technology Transfer Professional (RTTP) designation by the Alliance of Technology Transfer Professionals (ATTP), and one of them has already obtained that status.

Professional secondments to centres of excellence in innovation and IPR management

Along the project development a series of visits and stays were carried out: (i) Stays of CIBICAN staff at MRCT (Rafael Alonso and Serafín Corral – 23-27 June, 2014; Miguel Fernandes and Romen Carrillo – 22-28 February, 2015; Sebastián Jiménez – June 28-July 4, 2015); (ii) Stays of MRCT staff at CIBICAN (Ranmaly Nawaratne, Senior Business Manager – 25-28 January 2015; Andrew Merryt, Associate Director of Chemistry – October 2015); (iii) Stays of CIBICAN staff at Ascenion (Randolph Revoredo – 22-26 March 2015; Sebastián Jiménez – June 29-July 18, 2014; 21-27 June, 2015); José M. Padrón – 21-27 June, 2015); (iv) Stays of Ascenion staff at CIBICAN (Christian Stein, CEO – 18-25 January, 2015).

Coordination and collaborative twining with technology transfer entities and support for internal surveillance process

With the advise of staff from Ascenion and MRCT, the IMBRAIN management team developed an internal surveillance process to identify the most promising projects in terms of the scientific capabilities of the research teams. After a first deep analysis, the selected projects were prioritized and worked out for presentation in Biovaria 2015 and 2016, as well as in the first Innovation Summit in Tenerife (19-20 June, 2015). As an additional outcome, two Spanish patents were filled, two spin-offs have been created, and a business plan for a new one has been recently written down.

Fostering an over-arching culture of innovation

A detailed campaign was developed to educate researchers and to raise awareness on the role of innovation and IPR in terms of acess to additional funding in periods of constraint budget, in terms of scientific impact, and in terms of socio-economic impact and benefit to patients. In this respect, several seminars and workshops were organized to give basic insights on communication, business development or funding opportunities: (i) Communicating in science (Juan José Martín, CienciaManía, November 10, 2013; (ii) Business development in life sciences (Javier García Cogorro, Omni Biotech Consulting; 25-26 November, 2013); (iii) Research opportunities in health research in H2020 (Gonzalo Arévalo and staff from the Spanish Institute of Health, 9-10 December, 2013); (iv) Technology transfer in biomedicine: Entrepreunership for dummies (Manuel López Figueroa and Christian J. Suojanen; November 27, 2015); (v) Science in communication media: How to communicate, whom, to whom and what for (13-15 November, 2015). In addition, a set of guidelines have been prepared for researchers, and are accessed at the web site: (i) Fundraising: A guide on funding opportunities for research and innovation, mainly related to European programmes, foundations and open innovation initiatives; (ii) Inventions for innovation: A broad overview of the technology transfer process, i.e., the movement of knowledge and discoveries from the academy to benefit the general public; (iii) Spin-off: A guide for researchers interested in launching a spin-off company based on intellectual property owned by or institution as a broad overview, providing a background on the resources available for entrepeuners; (iv) Handbook summary: Technology transfer process at a glance; (v) Knowledge transfer: The process of knowledge transfer at a glance.

As part of the activities of the CIBICAN Innovation Summit (19-20 June, 2015), a series of presentations from eminent researcher-entrepeuners and/or scientific founders. This was a great opportunity for basic scientists and clinicians at CIBICAN to get first-hand experience in conducting translational research and knowledge transfer in biomedicine. The following selected talks were given: (i) HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology: A model and possible road-map for the development of a successful new biomedical and biotechnology institute outside of the usual hot-spots (Richard Myers – President, Director & Faculty Investigator, HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, Huntsville, AL, USA); (ii) Technology transfer offices: Case studies in successful approaches & models (Mike Johnson – Director Corporate Partnerships, MRCT, London, UK; Miriam Zeni – Manager, Science & Technology Transfer, Fundación Botín, Madrid; Susanne Letzelter – Corporate Development & Communication, Ascenion GmbH, Munich, Germany; (iii) New company formation: from innovative ideas to startups (Robert Kay – Managing Pertner, Parallax Biotechnology Advisors, San Francisco, CA, USA; Anne Leschin – Co-Founder & Principal, StreetSmart Investor Relations, San Francisco, CA, USA; Javier García-Cogorro, Managing Partner, Synthesis Capital, Madrid); (iv) The pharma & industry perspective: partnering and licensing (Robert Elfont – Founder, Strategic Clinical Development, LLC, San Francisco, CA, USA; Oliver Chao – Head, Emerging Biomedical Science, Sanofi, Paris, France; Jesús Hernández – CEO, Center for Applied Medical Research, University of Navarra, Pamplona; Sanford S. Zweifach – CEO & Founder, Ascendancy Healthcare, San Francisco, CA, USA); (v) Sources of funding (Manuel López-Figueroa – Bay City Capital, San Francisco, CA, USA; Laia Crespo – Investment Director, Ysios Capital, Barcelona; Graeme Martin ¬– CEO, Takeda Ventures Inc., Palo Alto, CA, USA; José A. Mesa – Investment Director, Caixa Capital Risk VC, Barcelona).

Networking and industry outreach

In addition to those specifically organized in Tenerife, different members of the IMBRAIN team have attended several European events: (i) TTS Europe-2013: technology transfer, collaboration, partnering and licensing (Welcome Trust, London, 1-2 September, 2013 – Sebastián Jiménez, José M. Padrón and Randolph Revoredo); (ii) TTS Europe-2014 (Pasteur Institute, Paris, 14-15 May, 2014 – Jennifer Hernández and Sebastián Jiménez); (iii) BioSpain: 7th International Meeting on Biotechnology (Santiago de Compostela, 24-26 September, 2014 – Rafael Alonso and Randolph Revoredo); (iv) TTS Europe-2015 & ENTENTE HEALTH (Barcelona, 28-29 April – Rafael Alonso and Randolph Revoredo).

Furthermore, CIBICAN researchers have participated in three different forum presenting the most promising discoveries and technologies under development: I. Biovaria-2015, as partners (Munich, 11 May, 2015): (i) Development of novel molecular therapies for Primary Hyperoxaluria disease (Miguel Fernandes and Eduardo Salido); (ii) Inducer of autophagy by D3R in neurons and lymphocytes (Tomás González); (iii) A 12-SNP set for precise human assignment to worldwide populations (Carlos Flores); (iv) Virtual bench to test colon cancer and Alzheimer therapeutics (Néstor Torres). II. CIBICAN Innovation Summit (Santa Cruz de Tenerife, 19-20 June, 2015): (i) Development of novel molecular therapies for Pompe disease (Eduardo Salido); (ii) Measuring –not estimating– renal function in special clinical conditions (Esteban Porrini); (iii) Development of novel molecular therapies for Primary Hiperoxaluria I (Miguel Fernandes); (iv) Autophagy induction thorugh the dopamine D3 receptor in neurons and lymphocytes (Tomás González). III. Biovaria-2016, as partners: (i) Measuring –not estimating– renal function in special clinical conditions (Esteban Porrini); (ii) Liquid biopsy and fast cancer detection (Leticia G. León and Eduardo Salido); (iii) A SNP assay for biogeographic ancestry in the major world populations (Carlos Flores, Santiago Basaldia and José M. Moreno); (iv) Phenotypic reversion screen for Checkpoint Kinase 1 and DNA damage response anticancer drug discovery (David Guillespie and Raimundo Freire); (v) Improving quality control of macromolecules (Antonio Hernández Daranas).

Dissemination, promotion and societal interactions (WP6)

Promotion and dissemination of CIBICAN activities were carried out by means of: (i) Presentations to stakeholders, academic authorities and poicy makers; (ii) Implementation of a web portal and an electronic bulletin; (iii) Publications in scientific journals and communication in scientific meetings; (iv) Weekly seminar series; (v) Organization of scientific workshops and conferences. The next section is a summary of these activities.

Presentations, promotion and follow up of the project
• Presentation at the Universidad de La Laguna to the academic community and institutional members of the Steering Committee: October 24, 2012, Institute of Bio-Organics AG (Rafael Alonso).
• Presentation at the Spanish Institute of Health: November 8, 2012, ISCIII, Madrid (Rafael Alonso).
• Kick-off meeting: January 11, 2013, ULL (Rafael Alonso).
• Presentation to the Subsecretary of the Spanish Ministry of Education & Science: January 21, 2013, ULL (Rafael Alonso).
• Presentation to the Director of the Institute of Technology of the Canarys Islands: February 27, 2013, ULL (Rafael Alonso).
• Presentation to the research staff of the Institute of Natural products, C.S.I.C.: May 29, 2013, IPNA, La Laguna (Rafael Alonso).
• Presentation at the Universidad Internacional “Menéndez y Pelayo”: June 7, 2013, UIMP, Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Rafael Alonso)
• Presentation and follow up at a workshop on A research potential capitalizaction exercise: Thematic workshop on capacity building – Stairway to excellence: June 25, 2013, DG R&I, Brussels (Rafael Alonso).
• Presentation to the Innovation & Business Advisory Board: November 5-7, 2013, Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Rafael Alonso and Serafin Corral).
• Presentation at the First Annual Meeting of the Steering Committee: November 29, 2013, Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Rafael Alonso).
• Presentations of the main project aims at several meetings in Boston and Cambridge, MA (Rafael Alonso, Randolph Revoredo and Christian J. Suojanen): (i) Staff of the Real Colegio Complutense, Harvard University, December 16, 2013; (ii) Vini Nijhawan, Managing Director, Boston University Office of Tcehnological Development & Executive-in-Residence, December 17, 2013; (iii) John Cosmopoulos, Senior Associate Director, Office for Technology Licensing & Industry Collaborations, Tufts University, December 18, 2013; (iv) Johannes Fruehauf, Co-Founder & Oresident, Lab Central, MIT, December 20, 2013.
• Presentation at the School of Life Sciences, Hamburg–Eppendorf: January 29, 2014, Hamburg (Rafael Alonso and Angel Acebes.).
• Presentation and follow up to the Innovation & Business Board: September 23, 2014, Santiago de Compostela (Rafael Alonso).
• Presentation at the Workshop on Chemical Approaches to Targeting Drug Resistance in Cancer Stem Cells: October 14, 2014, Puerto de la Cruz (Rafael Alonso).
• Presentation at the Second Annual Meeting of the Steering Committee: February 17, 2015, Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Rafael Alonso).
• Presentation at CIBICAN Innovation Summit: June 19, Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Rafael Alonso).
• Presentation at the Workshop on Research on Rare Diseases: October 22, Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Rafael Alonso).
• Presentation of results to the Scientific Advisory Board: October 13, 2015, ULL (Rafael Alonso).
• Presentations of main scientific results and achievements from the newly recruited researchers: November 13, 2015, ULL (all recruited researchers).
• Presentation at the Third Annual Meeting of the Steering Committee: November 26, ULL (Rafael Alonso).
• Presentation of results, follow up and discussion with the EU Evaluation Committee: April 4, 2016, ULL (Rafael Alonso).
• Presentation of Evaluation Report to the Steering Committee: May 17, 2016, ULL (Evaluation Committee).

Implementation of a web portal and electronic bulletin, and use of social networks
• The web site was launched during the first and is currently updated (

Publications in scientific journals and communication in scientific meetings
They can be accessed at the web site and other sections.

Weekly seminar series
Location School of Medicine–Institute of Biomedical Technologies and Institute od Bio-Organics.
Organizer Diego Alvarez de la Rosa (Coordinator of WP2 and member of the Project Management Team).
Announcements Website:, e-mail and posters.
Average number of attendants 30 (PhD students, postdoctoral fellows, ULL academic staff and researchers).
Speakers Around 30 seminars per year from Europe and USA.
Structure of meetings Sixty minutes talks, regularly on Friday morning, followed by round table Q&A.
Final outcome To improve the knowledge in the different research areas and establish new collaborations with other research institutions.

Organization of scientific workshops and conferences
• Doing Biology with Light: October 24-26, 2013, Puerto de la Cruz (Organizers: Teresa Giráldez and Andrew Plested).
• Chemical Approaches to Targetting Drug Resistance in Cancer Stem Cells: October 14-15, 2014, Puerto de la Cruz (Organizers: José Manuel Padrón and Godefridus J. Peters).
• International Conferences on Stem Cells and Immunity: October 20-23, 2014, Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Organizers: Carlos Martínez-Alonso, Juan Carlos Izpisua-Belmonte and Rafael Alonso).
• Diabetes and Obesity in Renal Diseases: November 1-2, 2014, Puerto de la Cruz (Organizer: Esteban Porrini).
• Mineralcorticoid Receptor Cell Biology and Pharmacology: a practical approach: February 9-13, 2015, Universidad de La Laguna School of Medicine (Organizer: Diego ÁLvarez de la Rosa).
• Analysis of Big Data in Biomedical Sciences: possibilities and challenges: June 25-26, 2015, Universidad de La Laguna School of Medicine (Organizers: Rafael Alonso and Guadalberto Hernández).
• Research on Rare Diseases: October 22-23, 2015, Universidad de La Laguna (Organizer: Pedro Serrano Aguilar).

Ex-post evaluation facility (WP7)

The final activity of the project was the development of an ex-post evaluation. With the advise and support of the project policy officer, three evaluators were selected and agreed to carry the evaluation: Roland Pochet (Chairman – Facultè de Medecine, Universitè Libre de Brusells, Brusells), José Antonio Costoya (CIMUS, University of Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela), and Antonio Pineda-Lucena (Institute of Health Research and Hospital La Fe, Valencia). The evaluators made two visits to the Universidad de La Laguna (April 3-7, May 16-19, 2016), and the Evaluation Report was presented to the Steering Committee on May 17. Details of the evaluation process and the Evalaution Report were included in the Third Periodic Report.

Potential Impact:
4. Potential impact and main dissemination activities and exploitation of results

According to the general aims and specific objectives of the project, all the tasks planned so far have been carried out, as it can be shown from the list of deliverables and milestones. From the previous SWOT analysis we focused the action plan in the following main aspects:
1. Exchange of know-how and experience through two-way secondments with selected EU partner centres. Whereas the number of research centres indicated in the proposal was initially eight, from six different countries, the final number of them was twelve and corresponded to eight countries. This has increased our international collaborations and has opened new interesting opportunities for cooperation.

2. Recruitment of experienced researchers and technical staff. Initially we had planned to hire 9 experienced researchers, 5 specialised technicians and 2 managers. As shown in this report, 26 people (9 females and 17 males) were recruited, including several young PhD students. Even though we have not been able to maintain all the recruited staff, a large number of them have found job positions either in Tenerife or abroad, and there are still actual opportunities for it. As a consequence, the research and technical human resources of CIBICAN and the ULL have been clearly reinforced.

3. Acquisition, upgrading and development of research equipment. All the planned new equipment was acquired and installed, and its use properly implemented.

4. Elaboration of a strategic plan for the management of IP and innovation capability building. Through the creation of an international Advisory Board for innovation and technology transfer, and the inmedite collaboration with selected EU entities, we have made a tremendous enhancement of our capacity, and have expanded the culture of innovation in our environment.

5. Dissemination, promotion and development of societal interactions. Besides traditional ways to disseminate the scientific knowledge through publications and presentations in conferences, we have used most novel procedures to reach the relevant stakeholders by means of radio, press media and social networks.

6. Ex-post evaluation facility. As also planned, en evaluation process has been performed, and the results of it have been presented to the EC as the third period report.

A significant outcome of the project execution has been an actual improving of our integration in the European Research Area. All research programmes have been benefit with the exchange of knowledge and experience, and a number of visits have allowed us to establish new collaborations, to apply for European and national calls with a good record of success, and to organize several workshops and international conferences on different subjects. In addition, through several visits and presentations in European and American scientific events, we have been able to disseminate our results and research lines and strengthen our interactions with a number of world-class laboratories and research centres. All in all, these activities have served to increase our international visibility, which will guarantee the maintenance of long-term partnerships.
The effect of incorporating new researchers and the implementation of new equipment has accelerated the development of several scientific-technological platforms and has served to open new opportunities for the attraction of researchers from abroad. In particular, two main platforms and core units have been set up, based on the funds obtained by this project and on additional funding from the national agencies:
1. Advanced Microscopy and Cell Imaging Unit.- This system includes two confocal microscopes, two cell cytometers, and an advanced system of evanescent field microscopy coupled to patch-clamp fluorimetry, plus stimulated-emission-depletion fluorescence microscopy. All together, this core unit allows the observation of biological structures and the study of subcellular processes in living cells and at a nanometric scale. Furthermore, the availability of this equipment in our centre gives us an excellent opportunity for the development of an advanced capacity and to reinforce scientific collaborations with many European laboratories.
2. Structural Biology and Metabolomics Unit.- In collaboration with the Institute of Bio-Organics, we have also set up a strong core unit for metabolomics analysis. It includes a micro calorimeter and several advanced chromatographic systems: (i) HPLC-DAD; (ii) JPLC-MA with mass spectrometry; and (iii) Gas chromatography-triple cuadropole (SCGTC). The combination of different advanced systems and the collaboration of researchers from both the chemical and biological fields will give us a high level platform for basic and clinical studies with a translational orientation.
The improvement of our RTD capacity has grown in parallel with a higher integration between basic laboratories and clinical researchers, in addition to those involved in drug design and innovation. A significant outcome of these interactions is the chance of turning turn a traditional impediment for the development of biomedical research in the Canary Islands, which is their geographical isolation, in an actual opportunity for the opening of new and innovative scenarios. On the one hand, because of that isolation, the study of genetic and rare diseases that are more prevalent in the Canary Islands has put us in a privileged position. On the other, being an interface between Europe and the African continent not only represents a doorway for infections diseases, but also for those genetically-based which could emerge after dissemination.
Nevertheless, the most relevant impact of the IMBRAIN project has been that of the improvement in our innovation capacity. Significant efforts for the building of sustainable, long-term capacity in innovation and IPR management have been made. In this respect, we have been able to train several researchers and project managers in the field of technology transfer through the collaboration with selected European centres and the advise of a panel of world-class professionals from this sector in the biomedical area. We are now in the position of setting up a specific infrastructure for knowledge and technology transfer, adapted to our environment and our research needs. In fact, different countries and different universities have developed different ways of legislating, organizing, structuring, managing and funding these institutional functions, depending on jurisdiction, formal considerations, regional traditions, local environments and strategic priorities. Consequently, no consistent definition or an ideal model for how to organize and operate that type of structure –a Knowledge and Technology Transfer Office (KTTO)– exists. During the project development and through the interaction with our Advisory Board we have defined the main ideas and strategies that can be useful in our case. Furthermore, we have elaborated a series of documents that should serve not only to us, but also to any other university o research centre of our size to approach the challenge of developing a KTTO starting from scratch. In addition, we have learned the process of get the proper training for the staff being interested, which can also be useful for institutions in the region and, in particular, the near African countries. As an example of successful outcomes, a number of technologies were presented at different forums, subjected to technical assessment, and promoted. One of these technologies applied for a company competition (Glico Fast Track) and was selected among more than 200 proposals. Two patents were applied and one of them licensed. Two spin-offs were created during the project execution, and a third one is being prepared. Since the starting point in terms of technology transfer in our institution was almost non-existent, these results must be considered as extremely relevant.
Finally, in terms of dissemination activities they were planned and executed taking into account the different target audiences, as it has been indicate in previous sections of this report. First of all, institutional dissemination was performed through presentations at different levels and at different times. In addition, academic communication was extremely important, since the activities being developed were related to our research areas. Therefore, dissemination and communication to the scientific community was carried out by means of current scientific publications and presentations in monographic conferences. A particular emphasis was made on the organization of several workshops, one international conference, and specific training courses on selected subjects related to the main project aims. Also, to facilitate communication an electronic bulletin was designed and given free access through email and the web site.
Regarding dissemination to the general public audience, researchers working in the project maintained continuous presence in the press media and participated in presentations in secondary schools and colleges. Moreover, in addition to social networks, we are producing a weekly broadcasting program named Double Helix, which is released every Saturday through Radio Nacional de España en Canarias, Radio 5, and Radio Exterior de España. This program received two awards, and during the last three years more than one hundred life science and health experts and researchers have been interviewed on different biomedical topics (;

List of Websites:
5. Address of the project public web site and contact details

Access to all public materials produced by IMBRAIN can be reached at CIBICAN web site:
The beneficiary institution is the Universidad de La Laguna (ULL:
Contact person as project coordinator: Rafael Alonso (MD, PhD) –
Contact person as project c-coordinator: Serafin Corral (PhD): –

Related information


Cristina Dominguez, (Project manager)
Tel.: +34 922 845895
Fax: +34 922 319584
Record Number: 188289 / Last updated on: 2016-08-10