Using light to develop clean fuels, blocking communication between tumor cells to prevent metastasis in breast cancer, predicting the damage to urban coasts that large waves linked to climate change can cause, an archaeological expedition to a lost kingdom of Africa or an opera about Poet in New York by García Lorca are some of the 58 projects that will make the BBVA Foundation’s Leonardo 2023 scholarships a reality.
Researchers and creators of between 30 and 45 years, and who are at a decisive moment in their careers, will benefit from a program that is now a decade old, and which confirms that in Spain not everything is a “brain drain”, but that we are also capable of retaining and attracting scientific talent. We spoke with three of them to explain their projects to change the world.
After obtaining a doctorate from the UCM in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 2006, Arkaitz Carracedo decided to dedicate his life to cancer: “We must remove stigmas, and talk a little about the good newsthat 50 years ago, of every four patients who were diagnosed with cancer, only one survived more than five years, and today more than half are cured, and we are moving the barrier towards 3/4, towards 70% , that is the goal, and it is advancing very quickly, although many assume it as a death sentence, it must be said that the majority of those diagnosed are cured.”
Since 2010 he has headed the CIC bioGUNE, based in Bilbao, whose objective is to find unique biological characteristics in cancer cells. “It is being shown that research in Spain has quality, we are at a time in which with limited public investment and the complementation of private investment we are managing to attract talent, but my impression is that With the little we have compared to other countries, we are getting a lot of performance out of it, we are playing the Champions League with Second Division equipment.“, points out Arkaitz.
The BBVA Foundation will allow you to study the specific alterations at the molecular level that underpin the aggressiveness of prostate cancer for 18 months. “These recognitions also make people realize that there is research here, young people who are starting, and attract science to society, that they understand what we do, that we are allowed to explain ourselves, and they are aware that we must support research, and There is no country that can be an economic and social engine without investing in research“.