Scientists in Practice and Spanish Biology Olympiad: initiatives supported by IIBM

Scientists in Practice and Spanish Biology Olympiad: initiatives supported by IIBM

The Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas Sols-Morreale (IIBM) has received for the third consecutive year students from the Científic@s en Prácticas program and the Spanish Biology Olympiad

Ten students from schools in the Community of Madrid, Cantabria and the Basque Country have been introduced to the world of research thanks to the participation of 6 IIBM research groups: Juan Manuel Zapata, Soledad Bárez, María Monsalve, Ángela Martínez Valverde, Luis del Peso and Pilar López-Larrubia


The Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) and the Asociación Española para el Avance de la Ciencia (AEAC) launched the Científic@s en Prácticas project three years ago in the Community of Madrid. This initiative, coordinated by Jesús Rey Rocha of the Instituto de Filosofía (CSIC), began with 38 students. This year 124 students have participated in this program. The objective of Científic@s en Prácticas is to help students improve their knowledge and better understand the world of research, as well as to raise awareness among students and teachers of the role of science as a relevant issue of our society.

This program is carried out because researchers voluntarily host students in their laboratories, in addition to being involved in giving a lecture in schools. This year numerous research groups from 23 ICUS of the CSIC and other research centers associated with hospitals have collaborated with Científic@s en Prácticas. Among them, the Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas Sols-Morreale (IIBM), CSIC-UAM.

Eight students, seven girls and one boy, from 3rd ESO have been learning basic biology techniques during a week in June with four research groups that also participated in last year's call: Juan Manuel Zapata, Soledad Bárez, María Monsalve and Ángela Martínez-Valverde.

Drs. Juan M. Zapata and Gema Pérez Chacón from ​​​​​​​Immunity, Immunopathology and Emergent Therapies group have been responsible for the students: Emma Pinto Rojo and Raluca Iusco from IES Dolores Ibarruri (Fuenlabrada) and IES Miguel Catalán (Coslada), respectively. These students are in the cover photo: Emma on the left and Raluca on the right. Both are wearing a lab coat provided, for the first time, by the "Científic@s en Prácticas" program.

Dr. Soledad Bárez researcher of the group Thyroid Hormones and Central Nervous System has welcomed the students: Leire Rodríguez and Daniel Escalante, both from IES Miguel Catalán (Coslada).

Dr. María Monsalve's group, Mitochondrial Function in Health and Disease, which has participated in this initiative since its inception, has instructed Zahira García and Alba Pastor, both from IES Santa Eugenia (Madrid). Laura Doblado Bueno and Manuela Hidalgo have been two of the researchers responsible for the 2 students.

Dr. Ángela Martínez-Valverde's group, Physiopathology and Molecular Mechanisms of Obesity and Comorbidities, especially Ana Belén Hitos, hosted two students: Amanda Carralero and Alicia Mulero from IES San Cristóbal de los Ángeles (Madrid) and IES Miguel Catalán (Coslada), respectively.

An award-winning program

The second edition of the CSIC Outreach and Citizen Science Awards has recognized the educational program Científic@s en Prácticas with the first prize in the category of Outreach Project. This award is endowed with an amount of 3,000 euros.

The jury highlighted "the capacity to involve multiple research groups from different scientific areas and for offering students from underprivileged backgrounds the opportunity to come into contact with research". It also valued positively the quality of the evaluation of the initiative.


Spanish Biology Olympiad

The Spanish Biology Olympiad (OEB) is a national competition that was born in 2005 and is organized by the Spanish Association of Biology Olympiads. This competition is open to students in the 2nd year of Bachillerato throughout the country, with the aim of promoting the study of Biology and bringing the students closer to the world of research. First, regional competitions are held and the winners then participate in a national competition (the so-called OEB).

This year, the XIX Spanish Biology Olympiad OEB was held at the University of Valencia. Fifty-nine students from all provinces participated and the winners will participate in the international phases of the Biology Olympiads, which are: the International Biology Olympiad “IBO”  and the Olimpiada Iberoamericana de Biología “OIAB”.

All participants, who are winners in their own autonomous communities, receive as a prize a one-week stay in a research group in an autonomous community different from their own. The Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas Sols-Morreale (IIBM) has been participating with the Spanish Association of Biology Olympiads for the last three years, in its commitment to encourage students' passion for research so that they can become future scientists.

This year the groups responsible for receiving two students have been the Biomedical Magnetic Resonance group led by Dr. Pilar López-Larrubia, and the Hypoxia and Angiogenesis group coordinated by Dr. Luis del Peso.

The student Pablo Saiz Puga, from Colegio Maristas de Bilbao, is becoming familiar with the use of preclinical imaging in biomedicine and its applications in human pathology models with the group of Dr. Pilar López.

Luis Neira Visiers, from Colegio San Agustín de Santander, under the responsibility of Yosra Berrouayel and Luis del Peso is developing a bioinformatics project: how to use programming to solve problems related to biochemistry and molecular biology.

The IIBM congratulates the research groups that have so generously hosted these 10 young students in order to foster their passion for scientific knowledge and research in Biology and Biomedicine.