UTE’s PhD student Lili Arias at the Faber Residency

Our PhD student Lilibeth Arias is now at the Faber Faber, the Arts, Sciences and Humanities Residency of Catalonia, thanks to an individual residencies grant. Faber is a place in Olot for professionals from the Arts, Sciences or Humanities fields (writers, translators, artists of diverse disciplines, scholars and scientists and so on) where they can apply to go to work on their personal projects for a short time. Lili is a young scientist and PhD student at our unit (based in the Germans Trias i Pujol Health Sciences Research Institute Foundation, IGTP). Graduated in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Barcelona and with a master’s degree in Cytogenetics and Reproductive Biology from the Autonomous University of Barcelona, she has been participating in two projects funded by the European Commission’s H2020 programme (H2020), called TBVAC2020 and EMI-TB, for the last three years. Both projects aim to develop and evaluate new tuberculosis vaccine candidates. Within the framework of this professional activity, she is preparing her doctoral thesis based on the study of the influence of comorbidities and vaccinations on the course of tuberculosis disease.a scientific article based on the study of the influence of obesity, vaccination and repeated infection on an experimental model of tuberculosis disease. During her week at the Faber Residency, she will finish a scientific manuscript based on the study of the influence of obesity, vaccination and repeated infection on an experimental model of tuberculosis disease, an article which will be crucial for her research career. We are grateful to Faber initiative and personnel for this great opportunity!

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Hello again! We have not been writing a lot lately…but we have been working a lot!

Our PhD students presented their work in several places. Lilibeth Arias, Paula Cardona and Marte Dragset went to the MycoZar meeting in Zaragoza, hosted by the Zaragoza University. Lili presented her work on the TBVAC2020 project (funded by the EC), and our collaborative work with Dr. Iñaki Comas research group (CSIC,Valencia). She went to Dr. Comas lab thanks to a CIBERES grant, and she performed there the microbiota analysis on the samples obtained in the murine obesity-TB comorbidity model (developed within the H2020 EU-funded project). Paula presented her work on the nutraceutical NR®, which was designed by our group and is developed by the IGTPCIBER spin-off Manremyc.


Paula has an iPFIS grant from the ISCIII to do her PhD and is now doing her internship at Manremyc. Marte, our post-doc from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, co-funded by Marie Curie Actions and Norwegian Research Council, explained the project she has come to perform in our group. Albert Despuig and Marta Arch went to the Jornadas de Formación (Training workshop) of the CIBERES in Madrid, where Pr. Cardona also gave a talk on innovation. Albert talked about his PhD project on host-responses of TB patients undergoing surgery in Tbilisi within the SH-TBL study, conducted in collaboration with the NCTLD of Georgia. Albert had a CIBERES grant and now has a FI-DGR grant. Marta Arch presented a poster on her work developing a TB experimental model in Drosophila melanogaster, which we expect to be used to evaluate new prophylactic and therapeutic strategies against TB. Marta also holds a grant from the CIBERES.


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Vera Marie Kroesen, from the Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg, went to the ERS meeting in Milan to present some results from our study on host-directed therapies, in which she participated during her internship with us (she came  to do her Master Thesis). She has spent the last month with us again, this time to do her ambulante Hospitation (HSV) at Serveis Clínics.Our institute has a collaboration agreement with this clinic to conduct research and training activities. Dr. Vilaplana went to Rome to give a lecture on the TB lessons learnt from notable writers, and Pr. Cardona got an award from the XX Congrés de Metges i Biòlegs de Llengua Catalana.

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The 2017 Marató will be devoted to Infectious Diseases and was presented this month, and a video featuring Dr. Vilaplana to promote research in this field was launched. You can access the

video here.



Moreover, within our recently created research line to study Health Quality ofLife of TB patients, we hired an anthropologist to conduct a study to qualitatively evaluate the impact of disease on TB patients in our setting. Adrià Pujol Cruells has wide experience on vulnerable populations and will be working with us several months, mainly  at Serveis Clínics.

And I guess that’s it! Do not forget to register to come at the International Workshop on TB 2017 organized by the FUITB, and to draw or paint a master piece for the Illustration Competition to raise funds. It’s all about TB! And stay tuned for any more news!




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New paper: Review on NSAIDS for TB

Lengthy, antimicrobial therapy targeting the pathogen is the mainstay of conventional tuberculosis treatment, complicated by emerging drug resistances. We have been working on Host-directed therapies, mainly in non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), since 2010.  In collaboration with our colleagues from the University Medical Center Groningen and the HDT-Network, we have just published in Frontiers Immunology Journal a  Systematic Review in which investigate whether NSAIDs display any effects as therapy of TB. We have included ten studies, seven preclinical studies in mice and three clinical trials. Our results point toward a beneficial effect of NSAIDs as adjunct to current TB therapy regimens, even if the determination of the best timing for their administration needs further investigation.

You can read and download the paper here.

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Do you want to work with us? we are looking for post-docs

We are looking for a bright, motivated post-doc to apply to theMarie Curie Sklodowska Programme 2016-17 European Fellowships. You can see most of our work in this blogsite, check our research lines,, our papers and the pictures! We want an open-minded individual, eager to learn, able to travel and wanting to spend some lifetime in our beautiful city. Doing research while having sun most days of the year? Yes, it is possible!

If you are interested, please check the call here and follow the instructions: 2017_42 Post doctoral Marie Curie Sklodowska Programme 2016-17 European Fellowships 

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Specialization Course in Clinical TB Management

A new edition of the  Specialization Course in Clinical TB Management will be soon launched in the Open University of Catalonia (UOC). Coordinated by Pr. Pere-Joan Cardona, and counting with Dr. Vilaplana as professor, this online course is open to worldwide professionals to be trained to face new challenges in TB management from an innovative and up-to-date perspective. The main objective of the course is to provide the theoretical and practical background necessary for proper clinical management of tuberculosis through knowledge of the histopathological basis of the disease’s evolution. Through this specialization, the student will be updated on recent discoveries surrounding the natural history of tuberculosis, including new tools for diagnosis, prevention and treatment. The course is designed to be taken in a single semester (March-July), and starts on the 15th March 2017.

Are you interested? Please CLICK HERE.


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PhD position – Do you want to work with us?

Thanks to the INPhINIT call of LaCaixa Foundation, we are happy to offer a PhD position in our lab. INPhINIT is a new doctoral fellowship programme devoted to attracting international Early-Stage Researchers to the top Spanish research centres. The Programme recruits per call 57 Early-Stage Researchers of any nationality, who enjoy a 3-year employment contract at the Research Centre of their choice among those selected and awarded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (“Severo Ochoa” centres of excellence and “Maria de Maeztu” units of excellence) and the Spanish Ministry of Health (“Carlos III centres of excellence“). In addition, researchers establish a personal career development plan including trasnational, intersectoral and interdisciplinary mobility opportunities, and attend a full range of complementary training courses and workshops. INPhINIT relies on the European Commission’s support through the Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions – COFUND programme to recruit a larger number of researchers and achieve a broader impact, as well as to further pursue the highest standards for research training.

One of the research lines of our Unit, leaded by Dr. Vilaplana, is devoted to study  the active tuberculosis and its course, the role of inflammation in its development and evolution, and its modulation through Host-Directed Therapies (HDT). We study biomarkers in the context of the clinical and radiological manifestations of the disease, as well as the other characteristics (epidemiologic, demographic, comorbidities, microbiological and histopathology, and Health Quality of Life data). Thanks to our participation in several International consortia, we have a strong multidisciplinary network, and our collaborators are based in Europe, Tbilisi (Georgia) and Africa (SouthAfrica, Angola, Ethiopia). We now propose a vacancy to help evaluating all these aspects in our  clinical studies; and to actively  participate in the communication activities  and intervention strategies to be designed and developed in field. We do offer a position to obtain multiple skills at translational level, the mobility to gain expertise in different settings, and all the education and training tools available in our Campus.

CHECK FOR THE REQUISITES AND APPLY FOR IT! The end of the call for applications is 2 February 2017

At this position, the candidate will have the possibility to have an impact in tuberculosis management, so in tuberculosis patients. This is a Health Sciences Project, but with multidisciplinary aspects including immunology, social sciences, psychology and medicine. For all these, we look for an open minded person, willing to travel and to do internships abroad, and speaking english (compulsory). Because of our collaborators’ origin, speaking other languages will be much appreciated (preferred: Russian, Spanish and/or French). Candidates should have a background in medicine, biomedicine, psychology or in other bio/health sciences. Students with social sciences background are also invited to apply. Medical students will be prioritized. No previous lab experience is needed, but past experience will be taken into account. Candidates should be willing to obtain a multidisciplinary education during the PhD, and to participate in dissemination activities as talks and oral communications. Team work is essential to this position, and we do expect the candidate to respect both hierarchy and the other members of the team. Ability to work successfully in a dynamic and fast paced environment as team member and independently is essential. References will be welcomed.

To learn more about the Programme, please CLICK HERE. 


  1. Go to the webpage: https://hosts.lacaixafellowships.org/finder 
  2. Fill in the FINDER blanks as follows: 
    • Area of knowledge:  select the option “Life Science Panel”
    • Disciplines:  select the option “Medicine, Public Health, Sport Sciences, Nutrition, Clinical Psychology, HealthCare Management”
    • Province: select the option “Barcelona”
    • Research Center: select the option “Germans Trias i Pujol Research Institute- IGTP”
    • Search by Project Title/Job Position Title: please write “Tuberculosis”
  3. Click the SEARCH button
  4. Our position will appear below, under the sentence “Experimental Tuberculosis PhD position at HUGTP (Dr.Cristina Vilaplana)”. 
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We wish you all happy season’s holidays – and a healthy, fruitful 2017!

2016 is about to come to its end, and before going on season’s holidays, we would like to share with all of you our achievements. This year, we have worked a lot, but also achieved a lot!

  • We had 2 new proposals granted;
  • We got several contracts with other research institutions or private companies, and we got some donations;
  • We started 3 clinical studies, 2 of them clinical trials;
  • We generated 1 thesis and 7 papers, and we edited one Frontiers topic;
  • We hosted 5 new undergraduate/degree/master students;
  •  We welcomed 3 new PhD students, which will be doing their thesis work with us;
  • We got funding for contracting 4 persons;
  • We organised 2 international conferences

and moreover, we did all these things while working with friends, and having fun!

For all this, we are so grateful to all your help and support, and we would like to share our happiness and our best wishes with all of you, all of the scientific community working on TB, and all the TB patients.


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