Josep Vilardell

Josep Vilardell

Institut de Biologia Molecular de Barcelona

Life & Medical Sciences

Since 2010 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), working on pre-mRNA splicing in yeast. (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. IBMB Vice-director since Nov 2018.

Research interests

Gene structure, or how the genetic information is written, is subjected to Natural Selection and there are many examples of strategies to optimize the storage of genetic information. However, apparently this does not hold in multicellular organisms, including us. Most our genes are repeatedly interrupted by many comparatively large, apparently meaningless, segments, that are neatly removed before decoding the gene. This removal is done by the spliceosome, a machine akin to a genome’s ghostwriter and possibly the most complex enzyme 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. In addition, taking advantage of large datasets publicly available, we investigate how the spliceosome responds to aging, mutations, or disease.