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News U27

News U27

Job offer: FULLY-FUNDED PhD FELLOWSHIP at the University of Zaragoza

BSICoS Group at I3A- University of Zaragoza –NANBIOSIS U27 High Performance Computing offer FULLY-FUNDED PhD FELLOWSHIP

Applications must be submitted before October 27th, 2pm (Spain time).

 Profile of the candidate:
Graduate/Master in Mathematics, Physics, Engineering or related disciplines.

 PhD contract and topic:
A PhD contract (former FPI program) is offered for a PhD position at the Biomedical Signal Interpretation and Computational Simulation (BSICoS) group of the Aragón Institute of Engineering Research, University of Zaragoza.
The PhD thesis is associated with the research grant “Towards improved management of cardiovas-cular diseases by integrative in silico-in vitro-in vivo research into heart’s structure, function and autonomic regulation”, funded by Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, with reference PID2019-105674RB-I00.
As part of his/her PhD thesis, the candidate will work on some of the following lines:

  • Processing of signals acquired by patch-clamp and optical mapping as well as electrograms and electrocardiograms.
  • Incorporation into multi-scale computational models of the heart and the autonomic nerv-ous system of all the information extracted from the signals and from additional processing of histological images and molecular biology data.
  • Development of numerical methods for simulation of cardiac activity.
  • Application of artificial intelligence techniques for prediction of abnormalities in heart’s electrical behavior.

 Procedure and deadline for application submission:
Interested candidates should submit an application through the electronic website of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation: https://sede.micinn.gob.es/ayudaspredoctorales/
Application submission will be open from October 13th to October 27th, 2pm (Spain time).

 Full details about the call:

Call for PhD fellowship

Summary of the PhD fellowship program

 Additional information:
Although the candidate should submit his/her application through the electronic website of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, as indicated above, he/she is advised to send CV and academic transcripts by email to Esther Pueyo (epueyo@unizar.es).
For additional information, please contact Esther Pueyo (epueyo@unizar.es).

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Maastricht Simulation Award to Konstantinos Mountris and Esther Pueyo

Konstantinos Mountris and Esther Pueyo, (NANBIOSIS Unit 27 High Performance Computing), have been awarded with the Maastricht Simulation Award for their participation in the CinC 2020.

Researchers of BSICoS Group, from CIBER-BBN and I3A of Zaragoza University, have participated in the 47 Computing in Cardiology Conference, which took place in Rimini, Italy, during the days 13-16 of September. Alba Martín, was awarded with the Best Remote Poster Presentation for the poster entitled “Model-based characterization of atrial fibrilation episodes and its clinical association“. And the work “Next-generation in-silico Cardiac Electrophysiology through Immersed Grid Meshfree Modelling. Application to Simulation of Myocardial Infarctionby Konstantinos Mountris and Esther Pueyo has been awarded with the CinC Maastricht Simulation Award (MSA).

This work proposes a novel Meshfree Immersed Grid method for cardiac electrophysiology simulation and its application in the simulation of myocardial infarction. Usually, cardiac electrophysiology simulation is performed using mesh-based techniques like the Finite Element Method. Such techniques implicate the generation of a mesh discretization of the domain of interest that can be a time-consuming process, especially for complex anatomical models. The Meshfree Immersed Grid alleviates the necessity for mesh generation and allows eliminating the mesh-related limitations. Using the HPC services of NANBIOSIS U27 High Performance Computing, – explains Konstantinos Mountris – we were able to validate the Meshfree Immersed Grid method as a promising alternative to Finite Element Method performing large-scale simulations of myocardial infarction in biventricular swine models.

The goal of this award (and its $500 prize) is to recognize the best submission to the conference each year on the topic of cardiovascular simulations.

2020 Is the second consecutive edition of the CinC Conference in wich members of Bsicos Group and NANBIOSIS U27 are awarded with the MSA. In 2019 the winner was Violeta Monasterio with the work Influence of the Stimulation Current on the Differences between Cell and Tissue Electrophysiological Simulations.

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The University of Zaragoza, in the elite of the 500 best universities in the world

The Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), known as
Shanghai Ranking, which was made public on August 15, once again places the University of Zaragoza among the elite of the 500 best universities in the world.

This indicator organizes up to 20,000 university centers worldwide. Among the keys that have been able to positively influence the results of the research, according to the Vice Chancellor for Prospect, Sustainability and Infrastructure of the University of Zaragoza, Francisco Serón, are the increase in public campus funding for four years as well as the quality of their Scientists.

The University of Zaragoza houses three of NANBIOSIS Units:

U9 Synthesis of Nanoparticles Unit, led by Jesús Santamaría and Gema Martínez

U13 Tissue & Scaffold Characterization Unit, led by Miguel Ángel Martínez Barca and Fany Peña

U27 High Performance Computing , led by Pablo Laguna

Since 2003, every August, the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), known as “Shanghai Ranking,” is published, one of the international reference studies to compare higher education institutions. The ranking selects the 1,000 best educational institutions from a global point of view, among the 20,000 higher education centers that exist.

It is possibly the most famous and most recognized university analysis that values the quality of institutions in the generation of knowledge. The research community respects the results of these rankings because they are based on objective data and their classification is reproducible.


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NANBIOSIS scientists in Aragón, explain on TV their research againts coronavirus

The special program on the coronavirus pandemic  by “En Ruta con la Ciencia” of Aragón Televisión, analyzes different aspects of the disease with special attention to the work of Aragonese scientists. Among them, two  research groups that coordinate NANBIOSIS units 9 and 27.

Starting at minute 44’45 ‘of the program, Doctor Jesús Lázaro, researcher of the BSICoS group of I3A-UZ and CIBER-BBN, led by Pablo Laguna, which coordinates NANBIOSIS U27 High Performance Computing Unit, explains his research. For almost 3 years, Jesús Lázaro had been working on a European project to develop a respiratory and heart rate monitoring system for patients with EPOC to control and predict episodes of worsening disease, but the current situation has led him to redirect his goal to try to provide solutions in this crisis and have creates an application for the mobile phone to detect from our home, if we have a viral infection: – “The parameters measured by this application have to do with the nervous system Autonomous, – explains Jesús Lázaro – they are the heart rate, its variability and the respiratory rate, these three parameters would allow observing a response through SARS-COV-2. The application works based on a technology that uses the flash of the mobile phone camera as a receiver to obtain a signal that is proportional to the blood volume of the finger put on the flash light, what allows detecting both, the number of beats per minute and the morphology of the arterial pulse, to obtain the respiratory rate. At the moment this application has been tested by the research staff and the next phase is to assess it with the general public. As the application is based on detecting autonomic markers, a very high sensitivity is expected, as well as a very low specificity, which would allow detecting not only SARS-COV-2 but analyzing these parameters in other contexts and in other diseases, even detecting other eventual viruses of other eventual pandemics ”.

Further information on the research project here

Starting at 28’14 ’’ One of the problems of the coronavirus test is what is known as false negatives, people who have passed the disease, but are not detected and could continue to spread it. A research group is developing early diagnostic tests to try to reduce this error rate. Pilar Martín Duque, at the IACS Aragonese Institute of Health Sciences, is a researcher of the NFP group of the INA and the CIBER-BBN, led by Jesús Santamaría, which coordinates NANBIOSIS U9 Synthesis of Nanoparticles Unit : – “All techniques have a detection limit and a sensitivity, it is necessary to have a minimum amount of virus in the body for the virus being detected, if the viral load is low it may not be detected at that time, it is possible that some patients with a low viral load recover, but in other cases the virus begins to grow and after two weeks they can be positives”- explains Pilar Martín. Her project makes PCRs more effective by concentrating the viral load before testing. – “There is a curious case, – continues Pilar -, of an American navy ship, moored in China, in which five sailors were detected to be infected by coronavirus, so they were quarantined during fourteen days and, after new tests with negative results, they were allowed to return to the United States on the ship. However halfway through the journey, the same five sailors suffered an outbreak of the disease. Therefore, our study would be useful for detecting patients with the virus tested for the first time or for not discharging patients who had been already diagnosed if they really are not yet negative”.  It is estimated that 10% of the population has infected 80%, these 10% are the so-called “superspreaders”, they are infected with a high viral load, but they feel well and do not know about it. For example, there have been several cases in choirs, such as the Choir of Zarzuela in Madrid, where 53 members were contagious out of the 80 members form the choir, this is because when singing or speaking very loudly, more drops are produced that carry the virus”. But why do some people become infected before others? Pilar explains that this is related to some, already known, receptors for entry of viruses, the AC2 receptors, and there are people who has more of these receptors than others.

Further information on the research here:

If we have learned anything from this pandemic it is the importance of health and research, a robust research system has the knowledge, tools, and human talent to respond to any situation. If we want to be prepared for the next pandemic, it is important and essential to continue betting on research.

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NANBIOSIS researchers featured in the 15th Edition of Spanish Researchers Ranking

The 15th edition of the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities has been published, ranking researchers in Spain as well as Spaniards doing research abroad. A total of 11 Directors of NANBIOSIS units appear on the most recent list, featured on the top 2000. The list is ordered by the h-index, a metric that calculates research impact based on a correlation of papers published and number of citations, and then by number of citations. The result is a list of whose’s publications have had more impact online.

NANBIOSIS researchers featured are Fernando Albericio (#207), scientific director of U3 Synthesis of Peptides Unit, Ramón Martínez Máñez (#342) U26 NMR: Biomedical Applications II, Jaume Veciana (#459) U6 Biomaterial Processing and Nanostructuring Unit, José Luis Pedraz (#906) U10 Drug Formulation unit, Jesús Santamaría (#912) U9 Synthesis of Nanoparticles Unit, Ramón Eritja (#1022) U29 Oligonucleotide Synthesis Platform (OSP), Pablo Laguna (#1153) U27 High Performance Computing, Antoni Villaverde (#1249) U1 Protein Production Platform (PPP), Laura Lechuga (#1511) U4 Biodeposition and Biodetection Unit M.Pilar Marco (#1517), U2 Custom Antibody Service (CAbS), and Josep Samitier (#1836) U7 Nanotechnology Unit.

This list reflects on the impact online publication can have as a tool to share knowledge. 

For further information: here

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Automatic Detection of Slow Conducting Channels during Substrate Ablation of Scar-Related Ventricular Arrhythmias

Researchers of BSICoS Group form CIBER-BBN and I3A-Unizar, coordinating NANBIOSIS Unit 27 tooghether with researchers of Physense group of UPF and Hospital Clinic have carried out the research which results have been just published by Journal of Interventional Cardiology.

The researchers propose automatic analysis of EGM signals using the “Slow Conducting Channel Mapping Algorithm” that improves the accuracy of bipolar voltage measurements within the scar area, achieving a more detailed tissue characterization and being an operator-independent tool for accurate identification of SCCs. This last feature encourages the use of the algorithm together with EAM navigation systems as a reproducible approach for guiding VA ablation procedures in daily practice.

The computation was performed by the ICTS NANBIOSIS, U27 High Performance Computing Unit of the CIBER in Bioengineering, Biomaterials and Nanomedicine (CIBER-BBN) at the University of Zaragoza. The CIBER-BBN is an initiative of Instituto de Salud Carlos III

Article of reference:

Alejandro Alcaine, Beatriz Jauregui, David Soto-Iglesias, Juan Acosta,
Diego Penela, Juan Fernandez-Armenta, Markus Linhart, David Andreu,
Lluıs Mont, Pablo Laguna, Oscar Camara, Juan Pablo Martiınez
and Antonio Berruezo, Automatic Detection of Slow Conducting Channels during Substrate Ablation of Scar-Related Ventricular Arrhythmias. Journal of Interventional Cardiology. Volume 2020. https://doi.org/10.1155/2020/4386841

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Neurocardiac Oscillation in Repolarization and Cardiac Arrhythmias

David Sampedro and Esther Pueyo, from NANBIOSIS Unit 27 High Performance Computing (CIBER-BBN, I3A-UZ) have conducted a research about Neurocardiac Oscillation in Repolarization and Cardiac Arrhythmias.

Recent studies in humans and dogs have shown that ventricular repolarization exhibits a low-frequency (LF) oscillatory pattern following enhanced sympathetic activity, which has been related to arrhythmic risk. The appearance of LF oscillations in ventricular repolarization is, however, not immediate, but it may take up to some minutes.

This study seeks to characterize the time course of the action potential (AP) duration (APD) oscillatory behavior in response to sympathetic provocations, unveil its underlying mechanisms and establish a potential link to arrhythmogenesis under disease conditions

The conclussion was that the time course of LF oscillatory behavior of APD in response to increased sympathetic activity presents high inter-individual variability, which is associated with different expression and PKA phosph

Computations were performed by ICTS NANBIOSIS 

Article of reference:

David Adolfo Sampedro-Puente, Jesus Fernandez-BesNorbert Szentandrássy, Péter Nánási, Esther Pueyo. Time Course of Low-Frequency Oscillatory Behavior in Human Ventricular repolarization Following Enhanced Sympathetic Activity and Relation to Arrhythmogenesis” published in the scientifiec journal. Front. Physiol., 14 January 2020 | https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2019.01547

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NANBIOSIS U27 researchers working in an App for the early diagnosis of covid-19 through mobile phones

Bsicos group researchers, from the I3A (Engineering Research Institute) of the University of Zaragoza and CIBER-BBN), Dr. Jesús Lázaro, Dr. Eduardo Gil, Dr. Raquel Bailón and Dr. Pablo Laguna, are working on a line of work for the search of solutions for the early diagnosis of Covid-19 cases, through the development of an App for mobile phones.

For almost three years, Dr. Jesús Lázaro, under the supervision of Professor Pablo Laguna, from the resarch group Bsicos, which coordinate Nanbiosis U27 High Performance Computing , have been working on the European project WECARMON (Wearable Cardiorespiratory Monitor) for the development of an ambulatory system that would allow monitoring the cardiac and respiratory rhythm of patients with Clinical Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and thus control and predict episodes of worsening of the disease.

However, the current situation of pandemic due to the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus has led the researchers, with the approval of the European Commission, to temporarily redirect their objective, foccusing their work in search of solutions for the early diagnosis of the covid-19.
The work carried out for patients with a respiratory disease such as COPD could now serve for the early detection of people with symptoms of covid-19, before even having fever, but also for asymptomatic people, since the rapid variation of these parameters is known. in the initial stages of other respiratory conditions. Our researchers will use these cardiac and respiratory parameters, indirect markers of the autonomic nervous system and, therefore, sensitive to the response of the immune system, potentially helping to identify possible cases of covid-19 earlier. A technological tool that could join the fight to control this pandemic.

Jesús Lázaro has recently made a two-year stay at Connecticut University in the United States, partner of the WECARMON project in which he was working with Pablo Laguna. Two other researchers from the Bsicos group, Dr. Raquel Bailón and Dr. Eduardo Gil, have also decided to redirect their lines of research and focus on the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. Re-directing research lines with different objectives to join the fight against the coronavirus is a great challenge and shows the relenvance of cutting-edge research to provide answers to the arising challenges in our society.
Jesús Lázaro explains that the application they are working on would allow a pre-selection of people at risk by analysing markers of the autonomic nervous system that would be measured on a mobile phone. ” At this moment, the above-mentioned four researchers have already developed the algorithms for other platforms and they are working now on an App using the technology of the cameras and the flashlight of the mobiles. A sudden change in heart rate variability or an increase in respiratory rate could give a sensitive and early warning, to resort to other more specific diagnostic tests for covid-19, decreasing the latency time, which has been sadly shown key in this pandemic. The developments and validation, those already made and those planned, are being carried out using NANBIOSIS U27 High Performance Computing (I3A-Unizar/ CIBER-BBN)

The WECARMON project is funded by the H2020 Research and Innovation Program of the European Commission. It is part of the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Actions, whose objective is to promote the professional career of young and brilliant researchers, expanding their knowledge through training, stays abroad and internships, in order to help them develop all their potential as researchers.

Related news:

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Wearable Armband Device for Daily Life Electrocardiogram Monitoring

Researchers Dr. Jesús Lázaro and Dr. Pablo Laguna, from Bsicos group, which coordinate Nanbiosis U27 High Performance Computing from I3A -Engineering Research Institute of the University of Zaragoza- and CIBER-BBN, in the framework of the European project WECARMON (Wearable Cardiorespiratory Monitor) are coauthors of the recently published article titeled “Wearable Armband Device for Daily Life Electrocardiogram Monitoring” in the Scientific Journal IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering ( Early Access )

Our long-term wearable armband is evaluated as heart rate monitor with 24h recordings during daily life”, explained Dr. Jesús Lázaro.

A wearable armband electrocardiogram (ECG) monitor has been used for daily life monitoring. The armband records three ECG channels, one electromyogram (EMG) channel, and tri-axial accelerometer signals. Contrary to conventional Holter monitors, the armband-based ECG device is convenient for long-term daily life monitoring because it uses no obstructive leads and has dry electrodes (no hydrogels), which do not cause skin irritation even after a few days. Principal component analysis (PCA) and normalized least mean squares (NLMS) adaptive filtering were used to reduce the EMG noise from the ECG channels. An artifact detector and an optimal channel selector were developed based on a support vector machine (SVM) classifier with a radial basis function (RBF) kernel using features that are related to the ECG signal quality. Mean HR was estimated from the 24-hour armband recordings from 16 volunteers in segments of 10 seconds each. In addition, four classical HR variability (HRV) parameters (SDNN, RMSSD, and powers at low and high frequency bands) were computed. For comparison purposes, the same parameters were estimated also for data from a commercial Holter monitor. The armband provided usable data (difference less than 10% from Holter-estimated mean HR) during 75.25%/11.02% (inter-subject median/interquartile range) of segments when the user was not in bed, and during 98.49%/0.79% of the bed segments. The automatic artifact detector found 53.85%/17.09% of the data to be usable during the non-bed time, and 95.00%/2.35% to be usable during the time in bed. The HRV analysis obtained a relative error with respect to the Holter data not higher than 1.37% (inter-subject median/interquartile range). Although further studies have to be conducted for specific applications, results suggest that the armband device has a good potential for daily life HR monitoring, especially for applications such as arrhythmia or seizure detection, stress assessment, or sleep studies.

The developments are being carried out using NANBIOSIS U27 High Performance Computing (I3A-Unizar/ CIBER-BBN)

The WECARMON project is funded by the H2020 Research and Innovation Program of the European Commission. It is part of the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Actions, whose objective is to promote the professional career of young and brilliant researchers, expanding their knowledge through training, stays abroad and internships, in order to help them develop all their potential as researchers.

Article of reference:

J. Lázaro, N. Reljin, M. B. Hossain, Y. Noh, P. Laguna and K. Chon, “Wearable Armband Device for Daily Life Electrocardiogram Monitoring,” in IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering. 10.1109/TBME.2020.2987759

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Understanding between doctors and engineers: essential to advance in health

Pablo Laguna Lasaosa, New Director of I3A and scientific director of NANBIOSIS U27 High Performance Computing talks about Biomedical Engineering in the radio programm “La Brujula de Aragón” @OndaCero_

Professor of signal and communications, expert of biomedical signals in the cardio vascular domain, Pablo Laguna talks about engineering today and how the relative weight of engineering is nowadays repesented by the information engineering, computer engineering and the treatment of information to be applyed in different domains, new materials and new ways of addressing and solving problems.

For the recently appointed director of the I3A, there is an opportunity in this updated concept of enineering to try to attract the female sector. “In the I3A -says Pablo Laguna- there are a good number of female engineers, pioneer women, of recognized national and international prestige, who make the effort of diffusion so that other women are encouraged to continue their way”.

Doctor Laguna also explains the I3A research which groups forty or fifty research groups in four work domains:

Chemical engineering, what is known as processes and recycling, (recycling, sludge management or new chemical processes to obtain new materials …), with a very close relationship with the recycling industry.

More classic industrial technologies, the mechanical part, where the great chanllenges are in knowledge, in simulations… to give value to companies.

Information and telecommunications technologies, which brings together the technologies of communication, computer science, data management and artificial intelligence.

Engineering applied to the resolution of biological problems, diagnosis of diseases, therapy … interdisciplinarity and understanding between the doctor and the engineer are nowadays essential to advance in the field of health.

To follow the interview in spanish: from min 13:15

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