David Torrents

Barcelona Supercomputing Center - Centro Nacional de Supercomputación (BSC - CNS)

Life & Medical Sciences

After graduating in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, I obtained the PhD in Molecular Biology at the University of Barcelona in 2000 in the group of Manuel Palacín working on amino acid transporters and associated genetic diseases. This PhD was awarded with the University PhD Extraordinary Prize. Then I moved with an EMBO long term fellowship to the group of Peer Bork to enter in the world of genomics, at the EMBL in Heidelberg, where I stayed from 2000 to 2006. There, I worked on genome annotation and analysis using bioinformatics approaches. Currently, since 2006, I'm group leader at the Joint IRB-BSC program on Computational Biology in the Barcelona Supercomputing Center doing research in computational biomedicine.

Research interests

Genomes are the central molecules of life because they carry all the information necessary for the development, the survival and the reproduction of all organisms. They have been carrying this information from the origins of life without interruption, acquiring complexity and changes that provide adaptation and improvements to the species. Over the lasts 20 years, the study of the genome in a biomedical context has provided valuable information about the genetic and molecular basis of diseases. The technological revolution in the sequencing of DNA has now pushed all this knowledge and possibilities to a scenario where we can plan the incorporation of the genome analysis as an integrated and regular protocol within the health-care system, resulting in a Precision Medicine, where the genomic information will be determinat for a more accurate diagnosis and for the selection of a more precise treatment. In this context, our group and my research activity is focused in understanding the relationship between genomic variation and disease, in order to generate the basis for more precise medical care. As pilot diseases, we are intensively investigating somatic variations in cancer genomes and identifying genetic factors increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes, among other genetic diseases. See http://cg.bsc.es/.

Selected publications

– Horikoshi M, Beaumont RN, Day FR, Warrington, …, Torrents D, …, John RB, Evans DM, McCarthy MI & Freathy RM 2016, ‘Genome-wide associations for birth weight and correlations with adult disease’, Nature, 538, 7624, 248.

– Fernández JM, de la Torre V, Richardson D, Royo R, Puiggròs M, Moncunill V, Fragkogianni S, Clarke L, BLUEPRINT Consortium, Flicek P, Rico D, Torrents D, Carrillo de Santa Pau E & Valencia A 2016, ‘The BLUEPRINT Data Analysis Portal’, ​Cell Syst., 3(5):491-495.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.cels.2016.10.021.

– Eiler A, Mondav R, Sinclair L, Fernandez-Vidal L, Scofield DG, Schwientek P, Martinez-Garcia M, Torrents D, McMahon KD, Andersson SGE,  Stepanauskas R, Woyke T & Bertilsson S 2016, ‘Tuning fresh: radiation through rewiring of central metabolism in streamlined bacteria’, Isme Journal, 10, 8, 1902 – 1914.

– Heyn H, Vidal E, Ferreira HJ, Vizoso M, Sayols S, Gomez A, Moran S, Boque-Sastre R, Guil S, Martinez-Cardus A, Lin CY, Royo R, Sanchez-Mut JV, Martinez R, Gut M, Torrents D, Orozco M, Gut I, Young RA & Esteller M 2016, ‘Epigenomic analysis detects aberrant super-enhancer DNA methylation in human cancer’, ​Genome Biol., 17:11. doi: 10.1186/s13059-016-0879-2.