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Researcher Tomàs Marquès-Bonet is the new director of the Institute of Evolutionary Biology

Researcher Tomàs Marquès-Bonet is the new director of the Institute of Evolutionary Biology

The Board of Trustees of the IBE, a joint centre of Pompeu Fabra University and the CSIC, has appointed the scientist Tomàs Marquès-Bonet as the new director of the Institute, replacing his predecessor Xavier Bellés, who has been in charge of the institution for the last eight years.

16.02.2017

With an internationally renowned scientific career, Dr. Marquès-Bonet will assume his new role as director with the challenges of consolidating the Institute of Evolutionary Biology (IBE) as a leader in evolutionary biology research in southern Europe. Its more than 120 workers are distributed between two neighbouring buildings: the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB) and the Mediterranean Marine and Environmental Research Centre (CMIMA).

Tomàs Marquès-Bonet (1975) earned his PhD in Biology at Pompeu Fabra University (UPF). He is an ICREA research professor, head of the Comparative Genomics group at the IBE and the National Centre for Genomic Analysis (CNAG-CRG), and UPF adjunct lecturer at UPF. Since last year, Marquès-Bonet had been the deputy director of the IBE.

In his new role as director, Marquès-Bonet will continue the project, contributing with new ideas and challenges for the centre, maintaining excellence as the central axis. Thus, in this new stage, the new director aims to ensure that the IBE remains a reference in the field of evolutionary biology worldwide.

As he said: "Among my goals as director, I hope to contribute to the scientific excellence and growth of the Institute of Evolutionary Biology in Barcelona. The main challenges will be to maintain a leading level of scientific production at the international level and attract public and private funding, as well as consolidate the success of our project".

For his part, CSIC research professor Xavier Bellés, outgoing director, hopes to be able to focus on the research of the group he directs, the Evolution of Insect Metamorphosis Lab. In his farewell, Bellés said: "I am sure that having fostered and promoted the IBE has been the most important thing I have done in my scientific career, and leading the Institute during its first eight years has been a great honour".

Marquès-Bonet did a four-year post-doctoral stage at the University of Washington thanks to a Marie Curie fellowship, and in 2010 he returned to Barcelona to start up his own laboratory with a Ramón y Cajal grant. That same year he received a Starting Grant from the European Research Council (ERC) to study the genetic diversity of great apes. In 2013 he received the prestigious Young Investigator Award from the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO). He has participated in the publication of more than 80 scientific articles, highlighting those published by his laboratory in Nature (2013) and Science (2016). In addition, he has published more than 15 articles in these journals as a member of international consortiums of comparative genomics, on such subjects as the genomes of the Neanderthal, Denisovan, bonobo, gorilla, orangutan, gibbon, marmoset, lynx, cats and others.

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