The Internship module consists of a practical laboratory work aimed at consolidating, perfecting and complete the learning and skills acquired by the student in the various theoretical modules of the master’s degree. This period also gives to students the opportunity to acquire experience and learn to move around in a professional environment.

Internship last between three or six months and can be carried out at VHIR laboratories or in an external institution, as research centres or biomedical and pharmaceutical companies. During this period, students are supervised by a work placement tutor, who will guide and assess their work.

The VHIR offers to all of its students the possibility to carry out their internship at one of the laboratories of the Research Institute. Interested students should refer to the person of contact given in each offer by e-mail.

Once you have already been admitted for an internship in a research group or company, you should refer to VHIR Academic Secretary in order to sign the collaborative agreement for practices and all the necessary paperwork.

pdf-file-ico Partner centers and entities

pdf-file-icoAcademic Intership Guide of year 2019-2020

Open positions for the course 2019-2020:

Liver Diseases

Tutor: Dra. Beatriz Mínguez| Data d’obertura: 17/10/2019 | Centre en pràctiques: VHIR

The offered project will be developed in the field of liver cancer (Hepatocellular Carcinoma) . With this project we will explore the mechanisms of action of Zinc as a supplement in a preclinical model of HCC. Techniques to be carried out will be: cell cultures (viability, invasiveness and clonality), protein detection (western blot and immunohistochemistry) and gene expression (qRTPCR). Possibility of working with animal model (mouse)

From January to July 2020

Dra. Beatriz Mínguez, / Dra. Mónica Higuera,

Grupo de enfermedades vasculares

Tutor: Dr. Estevo Santamaria| Data d’obertura: 16/10/2019 | Centre en pràctiques: VHIR

Epileptic seizures are the 2nd most frequent neurological attention at ER, both in patients with known epilepsy or unprovoked seizures. A poor evaluation might leads to an early recurrence of seizures or cluster or status epilepticus (SE), considered a life-threatening that is in relationship to a late diagnosis. So an early detection and treatment, especially in the pre-hospital setting, is essential to improve the long-term response and prognosis.

Objective: a prospective validation of a clinical scale (ADANscale) for the out-of-hospital selection of patients with high-risk of developing SE and to evaluate the diagnostic usefulness of serum biomarkers as diagnostic tools.

From February till July 2020

Biochemistry, Biologist, biotechnologist, or similar.

Gonzalo Mazuela,

Design and Pharmacokinetics of Nanoparticles

Tutor: (ASSIGNED) Dr. Victor Puntes| Data d’obertura: 19/09/2019 | Centre en pràctiques: VHIR

Developing advanced transfections mechanisms based on cationic nanoparticles. THere are few strategies for genetic material delvery and all of them are subject to severe limitations in efficacy and safety. New rational transfection vehicles are desired and cationic Gold  NPs may provide a competitive endosomal transfection route.

The project consist on testing the different available techniques (lentivirus, lipofectamine, cationic polymers) in the same conditions than cationic NPs to compare the different methodologies (taking into account that is not the same to deliver DNA or RNA as much as it is not the same to deliver siRNA or mRNA).
This work is framed in the European EURONANOMED III project CONCORD in collaboration with Hospital Clinic, Tel Aviv University and Mario Negri Institute.

From Oct.2019 to Sept. 2020

Previous knowledge on colloidal science, nanoparticles and basic chemistry.

Dr. Victor Puntes,


Tutor: Dra. Susana Gómez Ollés| Data d’obertura: 29/07/2019 | Centre en pràctiques: VHIR

Several complications occur after lung transplantation. The aim of this study is to identify the role of donor-derived cell-free DNA (ddcfDNA) levels in the lung transplant recipient as a non-invasive biomarker of infection and rejection. Besides, the association of this biomarker with the development of chronic lung allograft dysfunction (CLAD) would be studied in the future. In order to assess the levels of ddcfDNA, the informative INDEL for each donor/recipient will be quantified by digital PCR in the plasma of the recipient at different time points after transplantation: 3, 6, 9 and 12 months. The association of these measurements with the onset of infection and rejection will be analyzed.

From Jan. 2020 to July 2020

PCR knowledge

Dra. Susana Gómez, 934894048 or

Malalties Hepàtiques

Tutor: Dr. Josep Quer| Data d’obertura: 29/07/2019 | Centre en pràctiques: VHIR

The student will develop a research study on the putative effect of exosomes on the induction of T-cell anergy to induce a chronic infection. The research will be focussed on hepatitis C virus and will learn to extract and characterize exosomes, isolate CD4 and CD8 lymphocytes, culture them in the presence or absence of exosomes isolated from chronic infection sample, and to analyse whether exosomes induce T-cell anergy.

From Oct. 2019 to July 2020

High grade >8.0

Dr. Josep Quer, / Dra. Meritxell Llorens,

Growth Factors Laboratory

Tutor: Dr. Joaquin Arribas, Dra. Beatriz Morancho| Data d’obertura: 29/07/2019 | Centre en pràctiques: VHIO

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is an aggressive malignancy with a survival rate below 5%, rising incidence and limited therapeutic options. For that, redirecting T lymphocytes to tumor cells through Chimeric Antigen Receptors (CARs) can efficiently induce cancer cell lysis and tumor regression. However, the scarcity of genuine tumor-specific antigens has led to the development of CARs targeting tumor-associated antigens, which are also expressed in normal tissues, leading to toxic side effects. The main aim of this project is to identify new tumor-specific antigens in pancreatic cancer that will allow the development of new CAR T cells targeting them.

From Oct. 2019 to Sept. 2020

We are looking for highly motivated, hard-worker candidate with an excellent academic record. Candidates with previous research experience will be preferred but not mandatory. Applicants should send a CV and their academic record.

Dra. Beatriz Morancho,

(ASSIGNED) Trasplante de progenitors hemopoyéticos

Tutor: Dr. Alvaro Urbano-Ispizua / Dra. Beatriz Martin-Antonio| Data d’obertura: 24/07/2019 | Centre en pràctiques: Clínic

Our research line is based on the development and improvement of CAR cell immunotherapy for the treatment of hematological malignancies. CAR immunotherapy consists on the modification of immune cells with a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) to recognize specifically a particular tumor cell. Specifically, we work with autologous T lymphocytes obtained from the patient, and also with cord blood-derived NK cells, which due to their intrinsic feature of not inducing “graft versus host disease”, they allow the advantage of obtaining “off the shelf” Universal CARs, available at any time.

From Feb. to July 2020.


Dra. Beatriz Martin,

(ASSIGNED) Translational Molecular Pathology

Tutor: Dr. Santiago Ramón y Cajal / Dr. Stefan Hümmer| Data d’obertura: 24/07/2019 | Centre en pràctiques: VHIR

1. Cellular Stress related to Cancer.
1a. Validation and characterization of novel Mnk1/2 inhibitors.
The phosphorylation status of eIF4E is an independent prognostic factor, associated with worse prognosis in a variety of different cancers (Ramon y Cajal et al, Oncogene 2019). Phosphorylation of eIF4E is carried out by the kinases MNK1/2, which are therefore a bonfide target for new chemotherapeutic drugs. We are currently collaborating with chemists from the IQS (Barcelona), to design and synthetize inhibitors for Mnk1/2.

1b. Functional characterization of ITGB3 as a potential therapeutic target.
ITGB3 was found translationally activated in hypoxic conditions after a polysomal RNA-Seq screening of cells subjected to hypoxia and mTOR inhibition (Sese et al, Oncotarget, 2017). Over the next years, we aim at validating ITGB3 as a therapeutic target.

2. Intra tumoral heterogeneity and clonal cooperation.
Our work is based on the hypothesis that tumor progression relies on cooperation between different clonal populations within a heterogeneous tumor (Martin Pardillos et al, BMC Cancer, 2019). Such cooperation relies on in intercellular communication via exosomes and other secreted factors. Therefore, we aim at identifying and studying these particular secreted factors and to validate them as potential therapeutic targets.

3. The role of lncRNAs in metastatic diseases progression
The classical “gen-mRNA-protein” theory fails to explain tissue specific phenomena in cancer like the organotropism of metastasis or the altered response to targeted therapies in different types of cancer, harboring the same genetic alterations. Non-coding RNAs, whose function has been neglected in the study of cancer over the last decades, might explain those phenomena (Ramon y Cajal et al, Frontiers in Genetics, 2019). Consequently, the aim of this project is to identify those non-coding RNAs and study their role in tissue specific phenomena in cancer.

From Oct. 2019 to Sept. 2020

Highly-motivated student
Ideally high marks in undergraduate studies (>7.5 in a scale of 1 to 10)
Ideally experience in working in a research laboratory with techniques of cell and molecular biology.

Dr. Santiago Ramón, / Dr. Stefan Hummer

(ASSIGNED) Mitochondrial Regulation of Cell Death, IIBB-CSIC

Tutor: Dra. Ana Moles| Data d’obertura: 16/07/2019 | Centre en pràctiques: IIBB, Institutto de Investigaciones Biomédicas de Barcelona

Extracellular matrix remodelling is a dynamic biological process which is control by proteases. Fibrosis or abnormal tissue remodelling is detected in most chronic liver diseases, precede cirrhosis and predispose to liver cancer. The degradome is the complete repertoire of proteases expressed in an organism. Proteases do not operate alone but in regulatory circuits, networks and signalling pathways. Our lab has described the participation of lysosomal proteases in liver fibrosis.
However, their specific cellular role during liver disease progression is unknown. This project will take advantage of the Cre-Loxp technology, which allows in vivo deletion of a protein in a specific cellular type and use preclinical models of liver disease in mice.

Liver injury, regeneration and fibrosis will be assessed in these models by analytical, histological and molecular techniques to elucidate the signalling pathways controlled by lysosomal proteases in different liver cells during tissue regeneration and fibrosis. This project is funded through National competitive calls.

From Oct. 2019 to July 2020

Applicants with an interest in doing a PhD after the master’s degree are preferable, particularly those with an average degree qualification over 8.5, so applications for competitive calls can be prepared and submitted to different funding bodies in collaboration with the applicant.

Dra. Ana Moles,

Chronic Fatigue Lab (Unit of Internal Medicine)

Tutor: Dr. Jesús Castro, Dr. José Alegre| Data d’obertura: 11/07/2019 | Centre en pràctiques: VHIR

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, also know as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) is a complex multifactorial, and extremely debilitanting chronic condition which the cause currently remains unknown. No clinically established diagnostic tests exist; nor are any effective FDA-approved drugs available for treatment at present. It is characterized by persistent disabling fatigue for more than six months and a constellation of symptoms such as multijoint pain, myalgia, unresfreshing sleep, impaired memory and concentration, headaches, anxiety/depression, autonomic dysfunction, gastrointestinal discomfort, and post-exertional malaise (PEM) that does not improve with rest or sleep. CFS/ME is commonly found after recurrent co-infections and its pathophysiological consequences are mainly multisystemic.

Prior to developing the illness, most patients are healthy, fully functional and have active social lives. Around 80% of CFS/ME individuals start suddenly with a flu-like illness from which they never pro-morbid status. CFS/ME is believed to be caused by aberrations in immunometabolism, neuroinflammatory and oxidative stress pathways and other environmental and biological factors, which may increase the risk for health comorbid conditions. The investigation is focused on diverse demographic, immunobiological and clinical data (including pathology, and at times obtained directly via volunteer studies) to inform and improve clinical practice for the diagnosis and monitoring of patients with CFS/ME.

This includes research on potential circulating biomarkers and/or immunometabolic signature patterns for diagnosis and monitoring, and the development of simple diagnostic guidelines to assist community GPs with frontline assessment of CFS/ME patients. Interests in infection and immunometabolic response are also included for this project.

From Nov. 2019 to July 2020

We are looking for highly motivated candidate’s students, interested in the field of chronic fatigue and pain and aiming at pursuing a professional career in the field of Biomedicine, Molecular Biology or other related fields. Candidates must hold a B.S. in Biomedicine or a related field and average score should be at least 2 (scale range: 1-4). Previous experience in sampling, processing and lab tests analysing blood, salive and urine biosamples, as well as molecular and cell biology techniques, also you will be invlolved in clinical trial in ME/CFS patients. Collection and clinical dataset analysis will be requiered. English skills will be also positively evaluated.

Dr. Jesús Castro,

Unidad de Neuroinmunología clinica

Tutor: Dr. Sunny Malhotra, Dr. Manuel Comabella| Data d’obertura: 09/07/2019 | Centre en pràctiques: VHIR

The identification of chemical compounds that inhibit the inflammasome will be used from a chemical library formed by 2400 molecules (The Spectrum Collection - MicroSource Discovery Systems, Inc.) that includes (i) compounds that have reached the clinical trial phases in United states.; (ii) compounds marketed in Europe and/or Asia but have not been introduced in United states .; (iii) compounds that have demonstrated biological effects in scientific publications but were never developed as drugs in human pathologies; and (iv) natural products and their derivatives. Mentioned compounds will be added In Vitro to cultures of human monocyte cell lines (THP-1 cell line, ATCC® TIB-202 ™) and microglia (CHME-5 cell line, provided by Dr. Randal Davis, Oklahoma State University). Previously, dose-response experiments will be carried out at different time’s points with a random group of 50 chemical compounds belonging to the different categories, in order to define the optimum dose and the optimal exposure time of the compounds included in the library.

The identification of chemical compounds will be carried out in 3 phases. In a first phase of screening, chemical compounds that inhibit the expression of IL-1B measured by real-time PCR in both cell lines will be selected after activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome with a combination of LPS for 3 hours and ATP for 1 hour. In a second phase, it will be investigated whether the selected chemical compounds also decrease the active form of caspase-1 (subunit p10) quantified by western blot and the levels of IL-1B in supernatants by ELISA. Mentioned determinations will be made in conditions of absence of stimulation, and after activation of the inflammasome as previously mentioned. In a third phase, the specificity of the selected chemical compounds on the NLRP3 inflammasome will be evaluated by determining the expression levels for other inflammasomes (NLRP1, AIM2, NLRC4) by real-time PCR.

From Oct. 2019 to Sept. 2020

Highly motivated student with good scores who is planning to persue Phd.

Dr. Sunny Malhotra,

(ASSIGNED) Sarcoma Translational Research Group

Tutor: Dr. César Serrano| Data d’obertura: 09/07/2019 | Centre en pràctiques: VHIO

Gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) is the most common malignant mesenchymal tumor and it is characterized by oncogene addiction to KIT oncogenic signaling, which is present throughout the course of disease. The main mechanism of resistance to KIT inhibitors is the polyclonal emergence of subpopulations with KIT secondary mutations. Interestingly, we have reported that simultaneous and independent activation of KIT downstream pathways emerge as a novel mechanism of resistance by supplanting KIT receptor as the driver. In this interplay, we aim to further characterize KIT dependencies.

From Oct. 2019 to Sept. 2020

Highly motivated student aiming to develop an academic science-based career.

Dr. César Serrano,

Clinical Biochemistry

Tutor: Dr. Francisco Rodriguez Frias| Data d’obertura: 09/07/2019 | Centre en pràctiques: VHIR

Study of the quasispecies of the hepatitis B virus by mass sequencing in different clinical situations. Detection and characterization of possible variants associated with these clinical situations. Once these variants have been characterized, they are simulated by directed mutagenesis for phenotypic study in cell culture, analyzing their effect on viral replication and the production of different viral antigens.

From Nov.2019 to Sept.2020

Biosciences degree.

Dr. Francisco Rodriguez,

(ASSIGNES) Nephrology

Tutor: Dra. M José Soler Romero, Dra. Conxita Jacobs-Cachá| Data d’obertura: 08/07/2019 | Centre en pràctiques: VHIR

Diabetic kidney disease (DKD) progresses to end stage renal disease despite optimal current clinical management. Renin angiotensin system (RAS) blockade is known to delay the progression of renal damage. However, the proteinuria is reduced only in 30% and this treatment fails to prevent the progression to advanced DKD. Thus, new therapeutic approaches in early DN are needed. In NOD diabetic mice, with type 1 diabetes, paricalcitol (vitamin D analogue) modulates ACE2, ADAM17 and oxidative stress independently from the glycemic profile and albuminuria.

Preliminary studies suggest that endothelin blockade modulated ACE2 in db/db mice. Recent studies demonstrated that sodium-dependent glucose cotransporter 2(SGLT2) inhibition on top of RAS blockade prevents cardiorenal progression in type 2 diabetic patients. We propose to perform “in vivo” and “in vitro” experimental studies to ascertain the cardiorenal functional, and molecular changes when RAS blockade is combined with an ETAR blockade and SGLT2 inhibition in the diabetic db/db mice and in the renal cells mainly involved in diabetic nephropathy development. For this purpose, we will study the effect of the administration of Ramipril (ACE inhibitor), atrasentan (endothelin A receptor antagonist), and empagliflozin (SGLT2 inhibitor) in the db/db mice as a model of type 2 diabetes. Renal-function studies, cardiac function studies, proteomic profiles, immunohistochemistry and gene expression will be performed. We will also study the effect of combined RAS and endothelin blockade on podocytes and proximal tubular cells. In addition, studies in tubular cells will be focused to assess the effect of this double blockade plus SGLT2 inhibition in oxidative stress, RAS gene expression and inflammatory pathways. Studying animal models developing early events of the diabetic nephropathy are mandatory to prevent DKD progression.

In addition, the target altered pathways and protein involved will be subsequently assessed in kidney samples from DKD patients.

From Oct. 2019 to Sept. 2020

High academic record are desirable.

Attach: letter of intention, CV and academic records.

Dra. Maria José Soler-, Conxita Jacobs -

(ASSIGNED) Pediatric Neurology

Tutor: Dra. Belén Pérez; Dra. Anna Marce| Data d’obertura: 08/07/2019 | Centre en pràctiques: VHIR

The projects aims at identifying novel genetic variants responsible for neurogenetic diseases, establishing a  correlation between the genetic variants and the clinical forms of the disease and to perform functional studies of the mutant proteins. Target diseases are epilepsy, pediatric movement disorders and ataxias.

From Dec. 2019 to June 2020

Grades> 8.0
Good command of English language

Dra. Belén Perez,, Dra. Anna Marce,

Pediatric Neurology

Tutor: Dra. Francina Munell, Dra. Penélope Romero| Data d’obertura: 08/07/2019 | Centre en pràctiques: VHIR
Master's project proposal

The project aims at identifying novel genes/mutations causing pediatric neuromuscular diseases and exploring novel gene-targeted therapies for congenital disorders, including LAMA2-deficient congenital muscular dystrophy and nemaline myopathy.

From Oct. 2019 to July 2020.

Grades> 8.0
Good command of English language

Dra. Francina Munell,, Dra. Penélope Romero

REMAR-IVECAT (REcerca en Malalties d’Afectació Renal, or Kidney Related Pathologies Research Group)

Tutor: Dr. Francesc E. Borràs, Dra. Marcel·la Franquesa Bartolomé| Data d’obertura: 08/07/2019 | Centre en pràctiques: IGTP (Inst. Germans Trias i Pujol)

Extracellular Vesicles, Biomarkers in renal transplant, traslational medicine.
Our group is interested in describing new molecular markers of renal disfunction in trasplanted patients. Among other projects, we are validating the proteomic signature of extracellular vesicles in kidney transplanted patients showing altered renal function. One of the aims of this intership will be to analyse these results, to identify possible biomarkers and to validate the findings in a new cohort of patients.

From Oct. 2019 to July 2020

Personal interwiew.

Dr. Francesc E. Borràs,

Neurovascuar Research Lab (Amyloid Research Line)

Tutor: Dra. Mar Hernandez Guillamon | Data d’obertura: 01/07/2019 | Centre en pràctiques: VHIR

The determinant involvement of APOE genotype in cerebral beta-amyloidosis highlights the fact that the regulation of lipid metabolism is crucial for the β-amyloid (Aβ) accumulation and clearance. In this regard, the apolipoproteins ApoA-I and ApoJ/Clusterin, which have a principal role on peripheral cholesterol metabolism being major components of high-density lipoproteins (HDL), also act as natural chaperones and can be found bound to Aβ in brain and plasma. Preliminary results of our group reinforce the idea that both apolipoproteins might have a relevant implication in the transport of vascular Aβ (de Retana et al., Alz Res & Ther 2019; Fernandez-de Retana et al., Neurobiol Aging 2017).

We work on the hypothesis that the modulation of the lipidic status through the treatment with genetic or structural modified forms of ApoA-I or ApoJ could ameliorate some of the features associated with Aβ deposition, and specifically in CAA pathology. In this regard, we are currently exploring different therapeutic strategies in pre-clinical models of the disease (using different transgenic mouse models or complex vitro cell culture systems).

From Oct. 2019 to Sept. 2020

Previous work experience in a lab and high academic record are desirable.

Dra. Mar Hernández,

(ASSIGNED) Neurovascular

Tutor: Dra. Anna Rosell| Data d’obertura: 25/06/2019 | Centre en pràctiques: VHIR

Stroke disease impacts human ehalth with more than 15 milion cases every year worldwide. Nowadays only hyperacute/acute therapies are available for those ischemic strokes candidate for reperfusion therapies either with tPA or endovascular treatments. With this scenario new therapies beyond the hyperacute phase of stroke would be needed to permit the treatment of much more patients in later phases of this devastating disease. The hypothesis that neurovascular plasticity contributes to stroke recovery is a powerful new concept to search for new stroke therapies since the therapeutic time window for interventions based on promoting recovery would be much larger than for those targeting the acute stroke only. Therefore, long-term neuroreparative therapies would have to target the two essential phenomena that allow brain neurorecovery after a stroke: restore the cerebral blood flow and promote neuroregeneration. To achieve these major goals, both spontaneous angiogenesis and neurogenesis need to be enhanced in the ischemic brain. Our goal is to study both angiogenesis and neurogenesis in experimental and human studies in order to identify how to potentiate them correctly and to how to improve brain function and neurorecovery after stroke from a translational prespective.

Title proposal:
1) Identify molecules (miRNAs, Proteins) related to post-stroke neurorepair in the context of rehabilitation therapy.
2) Elucidate the role of Diesel Exhaust Particle Exposure as air pollutants in neurovascular injury and repair after stroke.

From Oct.2019 to July 2020


Dra. Anna Rosell,

(ASSIGNED) Physiology and physiopatholgy of the digestive tract

Tutor: Dr. Guillaume Sarrabayrouse / Dra. Chaysavanh Manichanh| Data d’obertura: 25/06/2019 | Centre en pràctiques: VHIR

Research line 1: Microbiome and inflammatory bowel disease.
Proposal title 1: Modulation of the gut microbiota to improve clinical manifestations of inflammatory bowel diseases

Project description 1: Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) is a novel form of therapeutic strategy for inflammatory bowel diseases, but the mechanism of this strategy remains unclear. Here, we will use an animal model of colitis to characterize the effect of human stool transfers on microbiome composition and clinical manifestations.

Research line 2: Microbiome and nutrition
Proposal title 2: Relationship between diet, gut microbiota and health

Project description 2: Evaluate the impact of diet on the gut microbiota and on health status. The project requires the enrollment of participants for answering a food frequency questionnaire, for undergoing a diet recall interview and for providing biological samples for microbiome analysis.

From Oct. 2019 to July 2020

Will be valued:
- Animal care and manipulation certificate
- English at least C level

Dra. Chaysavanh Manichanh, (Chaysavanh Manichanh)

(ASSIGNED) Laboratory of Metabolism and Obesity / Unit of Diabetes and Metabolism

Tutor: Dr Josep A. Villena| Data d’obertura: 25/06/2019 | Centre en pràctiques: VHIR

The main research lines of our laboratory focus at understanding the molecular mechanisms that control energy homeostasis in the organism and how alterations in such mechanisms are linked to the development of metabolic diseases, including obesity, type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome. Our lab offers two positions to carry the experimental work of the VHIR’s Master in Translational Biomedical Research working on a project aimed at understanding how perturbations in the brown adipose tissue-pancreas crosstalk may lead to the development of diabetes.

From Oct. 2019 to July 2020

We are looking for highly motivated candidates, interested in pursuing a professional career in the field translational research by joining a PhD program in Biomedicine or similar in the future. Candidates must hold a B.S. in Biology, Biomedicine, Biochemistry or similar. A strong background in molecular and cellular biology, as well as good English speaking and writing skills will be positively valued.

Attach: letter of intention, CV and academic records.

Dr. Josep Villena,

Nephropathies – Renal transplantation (IMIM)

Tutor: Julio Pascual - Marta Crespo| Data d’obertura: 29/05/2019 | Centre en pràctiques: Biomedical Research Park of Barcelona (PRBB) - Hospital del Mar C/ Doctor Aiguader, 88. 08003 Barcelona

This study aims to clarify the process leading to chronic humoral rejection. The development of drugs such as ciclosporin or tacrolimus has allowed the drastic reduction in acute rejection, but a slow loss of kidney grafts, a frequent appearance of neoplasms, infections and cardiovascular events continues to be detected. It is important to identify the immune causes of chronic dysfunction beyond pharmacological nephrotoxicity. For this reason, we propose to systematically evaluate the delayed immune response post-renal transplant, through the monitoring of donor-specific anti-HLA antibodies, and the activation of B and T lymphocytes, with the objective of determining several patterns of immune response and correlate them with clinical evolution. This will allow adjusting and individualizing the pharmacological immunosuppression for each transplanted patient.
We offer the possibility to do a PhD thesis within the group.

October 2019 to June 2020

Enthusiastic, motivated and creative. Send your application and full CV

Dalia Raïch,

(ASSIGNED) HIV Translational laboratory

Tutor: Maria José Buzón| Data d’obertura: 25/06/2019 | Centre en pràctiques: VHIR

The study of the HIV reservoirs that persist in patients treated with antiretroviral drugs and novel therapeutic strategies to target the persistent virus.

from Nov 2019 to Sept 2020


Dra. M José Buzón,

Cell Signaling and Apoptosis group

Tutor: Dr. María J Pérez| Data d’obertura: 07/07/2018 | Centre en pràctiques: VHIR

Alzheimer´s disease (AD) is the most frequent cause of dementia and manifests with progressive memory impairment, language disorders, apraxia and deficits in visual function. There is no viable therapy to slow or reverse AD progression. The key pathological changes observed in AD brains are amyloid-b (Ab) deposited extracellularly in plaques, and hyperphosphorylated tau (p-tau) accumulating intracellularly as neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs). Additional changes include reactive microgliosis and loss of neurons, white matter and synapses. Brain function depends on coordinated interactions between neurons and glial cells that include microglia, astrocytes, and oligodendrocytes. Role of astrocytes has gained much interest in recent years as a strategy to develop new treatments for the disease.
We aim to study the factors implicated in the communication between astrocytes and neurons as AD progresses. The role of astrocytes, as a significant player in neuronal signaling, may elucidate some potential targets for treatment. For this goal, we will study the interactions of astrocytes with neurons using in vitro models, such as immortalized human astrocytes and neuroblastoma cell lines. We will investigate the proteins secreted by activated astroctyes (with Abeta or proinflammatory cytokines, a situation mimicking the alteration observed in AD) and their effects on neurons (viability, death, differentiation, expression profile), with particular interest in alterations in signaling pathways and expression of antiapoptotic molecules

OCT. 2018-SET. 2019

High motivation to pursue a research career/ Good command of English/ Send complete CV and academic records along with the application /

(ASSIGNED) Neurodegenerative Diseases

Tutor: Dra. Marta Martínez Vicente| Data d’obertura: 25/06/2019 | Centre en pràctiques: VHIR

Project: Pathogenic role of autofagic / lysosomal dysfunction in Parkinson's disease (PD) associated to GBA mutations. Characterization and development of new preclinical therapies:

Specific aims:
1. Study of the role of lipid metabolism in the pathogenicity of PD associated to mutations in the GBA.
2. Development of new preclinical therapies for the restoration of GBA activity through i) enzymatic replacement therapy with recombinated GBA nanoconjugates (collaboration with ICN2-UAB) and ii) pharmacological chaperones (collaboration with Gain Therapeutics).

Oct 2019- July 2020

- Experience working in a research laboratory (cell and molecular biology techniques)
- High marks in undergraduate studies (>2 in a scale of 1 to 4) is preferable
- High level of English

Dra. Marta Martínez,

(ASSIGNED) Dug delivery and targeting group – CIBBIM nanomedicine

Tutor: Dr. Simo Schwartz/ Dra. Petra Gener| Data d’obertura: 25/06/2019 | Centre en pràctiques: VHIR

Exosomes and its biomedical application: We are currently running several research lines concerning exosomes for biomedical use, including cancer, tissue regeneration and rare disease (Fabry disease) . The offered position is to cover the master student position that will learn the basic techniques to isolate, to validate and to use exosomes in in vitro settings.

From Oct. 2019 to July 2020

Basic knowledge of functioning of biomedical laboratory, independence in daily laboratory work, willing to learn

Dra. Petra Gener,

Biomedical Research in Digestive Tract Tumors – CIBBIM Nanomedicine

Tutor: Dr. Diego Arango| Data d’obertura: 25/06/2019 | Centre en pràctiques: VHIR

1) Investigation of the molecular mechanisms of colon cancer. Different techniques of cell and molecular biology will be used to study the molecular mechanisms involved in the initiation and progression of colorectal tumors using in vitro cellular systems, animal models and large collections of human primary tumors.

2) Identification and validation of new molecular markers of response to treatment for cancer. Here, high throughput techniques will be used to identify new biomarkers of response to chemotherapeutic treatment for colorectal cancer patients, that will subsequently be validated in large collections of patients with colorectal cancer that received chemotheapy.

From Oct 2019 to July 2020

Experience working in a research laboratory with techniques of cell and molecular biology/High marks in undergraduate studies (>7.5 on a scale 1 to 10) is desirable.

Dr. Diego Arango,

Translational Molecular Pathology – Gap Junction Lab

Tutor: Dr. Trond Aasen| Data d’obertura: 25/06/2019 | Centre en pràctiques: VHIR

We are interested in how direct cell-to-cell communication via gap junctions is implicated in healthy and diseased tissue and in particular cancer. See our review: “Gap junctions and cancer: communicating for 50 years. Nat Rev Cancer. 2016 Dec;16(12):775-788.PMID: 27782134” LINK.
We study the gap junction proteins (connexins) as well as the channel protein Pannexin 1, promising prognostic markers and therapeutic targets. Techniques used in the lab includes cell communication assays, cloning, cell culture (overexpression and RNAi-knockdown using virus), CRISPR-technology, drug-response studies (cell viability, proliferation and apoptosis assays), protein analysis (Immunohistochemistry, western blot) etc.

Our focus is on breast cancer and how Cx43 is regulated by unusual translational mechanism to produce more than one protein form from the same mRNA. We are interested in how this is regulated and how this affect the malignant phenotype, especially due to a truncated C-terminal Cx43 fragment. Key approaches include: a) CRISPR knockout of Cx43 expression in cancer cell lines (including in mouse models). b) Generation of chimeric constructs specifically directing the trafficking of Cx43 to the mitochondria or nucleus. Functional analysis of malignant properties (cell migration, apoptosis, resistance to chemotherapeutics etc.)

From Oct. 2019 to July 2020

- Highly-motivated student with a desire to do a PhD/
- High level of English
- Ideally high marks in undergraduate studies (>2 in a scale of 1 to 4)
- Ideally experience working in a research laboratory with techniques of cell and molecular biology.

(attachment of CV, support letters and/or previous mini-projects, will be highly appreciated if available).
Informal visits and questions are welcomed.

Dr. Trond Aasen,

Neuromuscular and mitochondrial disorders

Tutor: Dr. Tomàs Pinós, Dr. Javier Torres, Dra. Yolanda Cámara, Dr. Ramon Martí.| Data d’obertura: 25/06/2019 | Centre en pràctiques: VHIR

1. Pathomechanisms and treatment of McArdle disease, studies in a mouse model (1 position)
2. Pathomechanisms and gene therapy of GFM1 mutations, studies in a mouse model (1 position)
3. Pathomechanisms and therapies for mitochondrial DNA depletion syndromes, in vitro and in vivo studies (2 positions).

From Oct. 2019 to 2020

No special requirements, but high academic degree scores are preferred to offer the possibility to apply to predoctoral fellowships.

Dr. Ramón Martí,

Group of Translational Research in Childhood and Adolescent cancer

Tutor: Dr. Miguel Segura| Data d’obertura: 27/06/2018 | Centre en pràctiques: VHIR

Development of new therapies targeting epigenetic regulators
Relapsed or metastatic tumors acquire multi-drug resistance, raising the need for alternative treatments. Owing to the diverse mechanisms that are responsible of tumor chemoresistance, we aimed to target epigenetic factors that control multiple pathways to bypass therapy resistance. The modulation of chromatin structure or function is a promising approach to targeting gene expression programs that sustain the proliferation and viability of tumor cells. The combination of different epigenetic elements is considered to be tissue-specific; therefore, identifying and understanding cancer-specific dependencies on chromatin regulatory activities pose a major challenge. We perform functional screenings to identify those epigenetic regulators for each tumor type that contribute to the proliferation and viability of the tumor cells and provide new targets for therapeutic intervention. We also test new epigenetic drugs on models of pediatric tumors of the nervous system such as Neuroblastoma or Ependymoma.

OCT. 2018-SET. 2019

High motivation to pursue a research career/ Good command of English/ Marks for BSc over 8/10/ Send complete CV and academic records along with the application

(ASSIGNED) BioMedical Research in Melanoma

Tutor: Dr. Juan A. Recio| Data d’obertura: 25/06/2019 | Centre en pràctiques: VHIR

- Role of p38alpha in a UV induced melanoma development and progression and
- Immunosurveillance
- Targeting NRAS melanoma metabolism

Oct. 2019 - July 2020

Willing to be enrolled or enrolled in the course of experimental animals and have a record equal or higher than 2-2.5.

Dr. Juan Recio,

(ASSIGNED) Laboratory of Cardiovascular Diseases

Tutor: Dr. Javier Inserte| Data d’obertura: 25/06/2019 | Centre en pràctiques: VHIR

Cardiac remodeling resulting from a chronic stress is defined as a group of molecular, cellular and interstitial changes that manifest clinically as changes in size, mass, geometry and function of the heart. The process results in poor prognosis because of its association with ventricular dysfunction (heart failure) and malignant arrhythmias.

Studies from our group demonstrate that the Ca2+-dependent proteases calpains contribute to myocardial remodeling of ischemic and non-ischemic cause and that the pharmacological inhibition of calpains may be a new therapeutic strategy aimed to prevent cardiac remodeling and its progression to heart failure. Recent data suggest that calpain upregulates after a chronic stress and modulates the expression of GRK2.

The student will be involved in a project that addresses the potential benefits of a new calpain inhibitor in the context of adverse myocardial remodeling and dysfunction induced transverse aortic occlusion. The study will also analyse the mechanisms leading to calpain upregulation and the interaction between calpains and GRK2.
This project involves the use of relevant animal models with myocardial remodeling and blood samples from patients with heart failure and a wide spectrum of laboratory methods to address this highly prevalent pathology.

From Oct. 2019 to July 2020

- Highly motivated students.
- High marks is preferable(>2 in a scale of 1 to 4)

Dr. Javier Inserte,

Group of Biomedical Research in Gynecology​

Tutor: Dra. Eva Colas| Data d’obertura: 30/10/2019 | Centre en pràctiques: VHIR

We perform translational research on endometrial cancer and endometriosis. We seek for an internship student to get involved in a project that aims to decipher biomarkers of recurrence in endometrial cancers and elucidate the molecular mechanisms that control tumor recurrence.

As soon as the student is available - July 2020

Requirements: Highly motivated students with a good level of English.

Interested candidates please send CV, Dra. Eva Colas,

Group of Cardiovascular Disease

Tutor: Dra. Marisol Ruiz-Meana| Data d’obertura: 25/06/2019 | Centre en pràctiques: VHIR

Effect of glycation on mitochondria dysfunction in the aged heart.

From Jan. to July 2020.

- Highly motivated person, with particular interest in cell physiology (high resolution imaging techniquees, ex vivo respiring mitochondria, freshly isolated cardiomyocytes). - - Good academic record.

Dra. Mª Teresa Fernandez , // Dra. Marisol Ruiz-Meana,

Cardiovascular Diseases Research Group

Tutor: (ASSIGNED) Dr. Antonio Rodriguez| Data d’obertura: 25/06/2019 | Centre en pràctiques: VHIR

Ischemic heart disease is the leading cause of death and disability worldwide. The social impact of ischemic heart disease is enormous, not only due to its mortality, but also because of its high morbidity, the loss of quality of life and its high economic costs. Cardiomyocyte death is the most important factor that determines mortality and morbidity associated with ischemic heart disease. Therefore, the treatment of choice in patients with acute myocardial infarction is to reperfuse the ischemic tissue as quickly as possible (through angioplasty or thrombolytic treatments). However, despite the improvements made in recent years to shorten the time of application of reperfusion, many patients end up with extensive areas of infarction, which will eventually affect their quality of life. For this reason, research in the field is now focused to develop adjuvant therapies added during reperfusion, with the aim to reduce reperfusion injury, that is, to increase the number of surviving cardiomyocytes, or to reduce the subsequent adverse remodeling (which includes collagen deposition and hypertrophy of surviving cardiomyocytes).

Currently, we are investigating several treatments aimed to (1) reduce the size of the myocardial infarction, by inhibition of mitochondrial succinate dehydrogenase or by application of a manoeuver termed remote ischemic conditioning (RIC), and (2) to attenuate adverse remodeling by modulating the expression of connexin 43 (Cx43), a protein that forms channels in the plasma membrane of cardiomyocytes, and that is essential for the propagation of the cardiac electrical impulse. The candidate would join one of these two lines (depending on the degree of progress of each one obtained up to the date of incorporation). In the first line, therefore, we intend to determine the utility of the selective inhibition of succinate dehydrogenase or RIC in reperfused myocardium to prevent reperfusion damage after transient coronary occlusion. We will use a porcine in situ heart model of ischemia-reperfusion, together with atrial and plasma samples from animals and patients. Techniques to be used include nuclear magnetic resonance, Western Blot, or immunofluorescence.

The second line aims to analyze the role of Cx43 in myocardial scarring, adverse left ventricular remodeling and heart failure in an in vivo mice model of angiotensine II-induced pressure overload or transient coronary occlusion. This line includes the use of transgenic animals, deficient for Cx43. Techniques such as Western Blot, immunofluorescence, or confocal microscopy will be used.

From Oct. 2019 to July 2020

Good knowledge of english. High degree qualifications will be a value.

Dr. Antonio Rodriguez,

Biomedical Research in Cancer Stem Cells

Tutor: Dra. Matilde E. Lleonart| Data d’obertura: 25/06/2019 | Centre en pràctiques: VHIR

Research line 1: Unraveling the resistance mechanisms in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma by characterizing key proteins involved in resistance

Research line 2: Deciphering the role of RNA-binding proteins in Breast tumorigenesis

Research line 3: Repositioning of drugs for use as new therapeutic combinations agains cancer in in vivo models

From Oct. 2019 to July 2020

Good knowledge of English language, hardworking student and very motivated, expertise in animal models including the official accreditation (for research line 3).

Dra. Matilde Lleonart,

Advanced Chronic Liver Disease

Tutor: Dra. María Martell| Data d’obertura: 25/06/2019 | Centre en pràctiques: VHIR

Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is an expanding health problem associated with the metabolic syndrome. Liver sinusoidal endothelial cells (LSECs) are highly specialized endothelial cells, gatekeepers of liver homeostasis. During liver injury LSEC become dysfunctional promoting liver fibrosis and also hepatocellular carcinoma development. We aim to recognize specific molecular characteristics of dysfunctional LSEC during the progression of NASH in order to characterize new future therapeutic targets.
The student will learn to isolate LSEC, sort them by flow cytometry (FACS) and analyse their transcriptomic signature (array).

From Jan. to July 2020.

Above all, we are looking for highly motivated students and if possible, with good level of english and good academic grades.

Dra. Maria Martell,