Josep Vilardell

Institut de Biologia Molecular de Barcelona

Life & Medical Sciences

Since 2009 ICREA Research Professor at the Molecular Biology Institute of Barcelona (IBMB). (2002) Group Leader at the Center for Genomic Regulation. (1991) Post-doc at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (New York). (1990) PhD in Biochemistry by the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), with research on the regulation of gene expression by the plant hormone absicic acid in maize, supervised by Dr. Montserrat Pagès at the Center for Research and Development (CID), Barcelona. (1988) BA in Sciences (Biochemistry), UAB.

Research interests

Living systems carry on the information to reproduce. This property is subjected to Natural Selection and there are many examples of strategies to optimize storage of genetic information. However, apparently this does not hold in multicellular organisms, including us. Most our genes are repeatedly interrupted by comparatively many large, meaningless, segments, that are neatly removed before decoding the gene. This removal is done by the spliceosome, genome’s ghostwriter and possibly the most complex machine in a eukaryotic cell. Our research aims at what controls the spliceosome and how this is achieved. For this we follow a reductionist scheme with the yeast model, using molecular and computational approaches. We study the initial steps in the recognition of “meaningless” segments and their regulation. In addition, taking advantage of large datasets publicly available, we investigate how the spliceosome responds to aging, mutations, or disease, both in yeast and human cells.

Selected publications

- Chakraborty A, Lyonnais S, Battistini F, Hospital A, Medici G, Prohens R, Orozco M, Vilardell J & Solà M 2017, 'DNA structure directs positioning of the mitochondrial genome packaging protein Abf2p'Nucleic Acids Res., 45(2):951-967.

Selected research activities

- Co-organizer of the XXIV Molecular Biology Symposium of the Catalan Society of Biology (Jornades de Biologia Molecular de la Societat Catalana de Biologia).

- Inspirer & Organizer of the Barcelona Yeast Group (BYG): Series of bi-monthly meetings of laboratories using yeast (budding and fission) as working model.

- Editor in Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences.