A look back at the year


Advanced Training


Throughout 2014, the International PhD Programme has continued to attract many young talents from all over the world, supported both by internal and external competitive funds and the “la Caixa”/Severo Ochoa International PhD Fellowship Programme. This year, after a highly competitive selection process (235 candidates from over 60 different countries), 15 students were selected through the “la Caixa”/Severo Ochoa call (funded by “la Caixa”, Severo Ochoa and the CRG). The specific training offered to PhD students in 2014 includes the Advanced Seminars in Biomedical Research Course, in partnership with the Universitat Pompeu Fabra. The CRG PhD community has actively promoted a number of initiatives, such as the 8th annual PhD symposium (4-5 December) and the 4th joint retreat, this year with CeMM, in Vienna (15-18 June). During the PhD Symposium, the Eppendorf prize for the best CRG thesis 2013-2014 was awarded to Luciano Marcon.


The International Postdoctoral Programme at the CRG currently hosts around 99 postdocs supported by internal and competitive funding from highly prestigious institutions. The CRG has launched a new Postdoctoral Programme, co-funded by the European Commission under the COFUND scheme (ImPuLSe) to recruit 12 new postdocs in 2014. Finally, the second edition of the CRG Summer Internship Programme for undergraduate students was launched with great success (112 applications).

A highlight of the CRG Advanced Training Programme is the series of high-level international courses, Courses@CRG. These courses are open to the scientific community and deliver high quality training (including lectures and hands-on sessions) on the latest scientific breakthroughs and technologies, bringing together the expertise of the CRG faculty, along with well-known experts and skilled instructors.

In 2014, the CRG Training Unit co-organised and delivered seven high quality Courses@CRG (see below), which were attended by more than one hundred internal and external participants from diverse research institutes in Europe and worldwide. Highlights of Courses@CRG include, the first “go abroad” edition on Personalised Medicine that took place in Buenos Aires in collaboration with the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and attracted 40 students from various universities in the country.



The Training Unit also started implementing a new internal training programme where four different scientific courses were offered to 103 participants from the various scientific communities at the CRG.

In collaboration with the Technology Transfer department, the Training Unit helped foster a culture of entrepreneurship and knowledge transfer by co-organising the first CRG Bio-Business School (a one-week intensive course in September). 11 external speakers gave high quality lectures to the twenty participants, who also had the opportunity to develop business plans for their own ideas.

Courses@CRG in 2014:

  • Analysis of Exome Sequencing Data for Clinical Application (17-20/02)
  • Summer Course Modelling for Systems Biology (29/06-04/07)
  • Advanced Proteomics Course (07-11/07)
  • Personalised Medicine (01-05/09)
  • Genome-wide Approaches for Protein/RNA Interactions (15-20/09)
  • Library Preparation for NGS (13-17/10)
  • Somatic Cell Reprograming (07-12/11)

Internal training programme in 2014:

  • Microscopy (June)
  • Statistics (June)
  • Galaxy Tutorial (July)
  • Brain Atlas (September)
  • Research Integrity (July)
  • Adobe Illustrator (July)

A new teaching space, created specifically for computational training, was added to the other two “wet labs” used for various CRG training activities aimed at scientists at all stages of their careers, courses and workshops within the Courses@CRG and PhD Programme, and activities for school children.

Advanced training figures

PhD students: 102 (71% foreign)
External fellowships obtained by PhD students: 15+15 selected in the “la Caixa” call
Advanced Seminars offered to Masters and PhD students: 6
PhD theses defended: 17
Postdoc researchers: 99 (73% foreign)
External fellowships obtained by postdoctoral researchers: 14
Courses@CRG: 7

PhD Theses Defended in 2014

Name Supervisor Date University Thesis  Project
Santiago Demajo Luciano Di Croce 21-02-14 UPF ZRF1‐mediated transcriptional regulation in acute myeloid leukaemia
Camilla Iannone Juan Valcárcel 23-05-14 UPF Links between chromatin structure and regulation of alternative premRNA splicing in mammalian cells
Bruno Di Stefano Thomas Graf 05-06-14 UPF C/EBPα poises B cells for rapid reprogramming into induced pluripotent stem cells
Juan Ramón Tejedor Juan Valcárcel 11-06-14 UPF Systematic functional analyses of spliceosomal components reveal novel mechanisms of alternative splicing regulation
Federico Agostini Gian Tartaglia 16-06-14 UPF Predictions of RNA-binding ability and aggregation propensity of proteins
Aina Masgrau Manuel Mendoza 05-09-14 UPF The cytokinetic inhibitors Boi1 and Boi2 are required for activation of the exocyst complex by Rho GTPases
Matteo Pecoraro Bill Keyes 02-10-14 UPF The role of p63 and the chromatin remodeller Lsh in senescence, tumour development and lymphangiogenesis
Andy Phol M. Beato/R.Guigó 03-10-14 UPF Nucleosome dynamics and analysis in breast cancer cells
Jacopo Scrofani Isabelle Vernos 10-10-14 UPF Mechanism of RanGTP-dependent microtubule assembly during mitosis
Jelena Raspopovic James Sharpe 28-10-14 UPF Molecular basis for digit patterning in the vertebrate limb
Kiana Toufighi L. Serrano/B. Lehner 31-10-14 UPF Integrative study of gene expression and protein complexes
Astrid Hoermann Yogi Jaeger 14-11-14 UPF A systems-level study of giant regulation in Drosophila melanogaster
Leszek Piotr Pryszcz Toni Gabaldón 28-11-14 UPF Comparative genomics to unravel virulence mechanisms in fungal human pathogens
Valeria Di Giacomo Bill Keyes 12-12-14 UPF Investigating a role for p63 in prostate stem cells, cancer and metastasis
Gaja Lesnikar-Puko James Sharpe 12-12-14 UPF Cellular mechanisms behind vertebrate limb outgrowth
Elisa Pedone Pia Cosma 16-12-14 UPF β-catenin fluctuates in mouse ESCs and is essential for Nanog-mediated reprogramming of somatic cells to pluripotency
Mekayla Storer Bill Keyes 18-12-14 UPF Investigating the Roles of Cellular Senescence in Embryogenesis and Ageing