Dr Nanda Rea and Dr Guillermina López-Bendito win the 2020 Banc Sabadell Foundation Awards

By June 10, 2020BIST

• Dr Nanda Rea, PhD in Astrophysics, has been recognised for her contribution to the field of astrophysics, focusing her research on the study of a class of neutron stars with extremely intense magnetic fields: magnetars, a particular type of pulsars.

• Dr Guillermina López-Bendito, PhD in Neurosciences, has been recognised for her innovative contribution in the field of developmental neurobiology, making pioneering contributions to understanding the formation and plasticity of nerve connections during brain development, under normal conditions and in sensory deprivation models.

• Both awards, each consisting of €50,000, aim to acknowledge the trajectory of young researchers.

The Banco Sabadell Foundation Awards for Biomedical Research and Science and Engineering aim to recognise the careers of young researchers who stand out for their excellence and ability to innovate. This year, two women scientists have received awards for their work in fields such as neurosciences and astrophysics.

After reviewing the 39 entries received, the jury of the 4th Edition of Banc Sabadell Foundation Award for Science and Engineering recognise Dr Nanda Rea for her contribution to the field of astrophysics, focusing her research on the study of a class of neutron stars with extremely intense magnetic fields: magnetars, a particular type of pulsars. Her research focuses on theoretical observations and simulations of neutron stars, the compact and highly magnetic remnants of relatively massive star supernova explosions.

Dr Andreu Mas-Colell, president of BIST and chair of the Science and Engineering Award Jury, stated: “Dr. Nanda Rea is a researcher with a brilliant scientific career, who has been able to surprise, impact and innovate in a field of astrophysics as mature and central as that of neutron stars. The jury also valued that, as a scientist, it covers all aspects: the observational one —where she works with very large teams when coordination, which she has repeatedly led, makes it necessary— and the development of explanatory theories of the observations that do not fit.”

“The awards are important to young people for the obvious reasons: it is recognition, it gives visibility and it helps, directly or indirectly, to obtain resources. But youth awards are also important to a country’s research system: Young scientists will be, in part because of the awards themselves, the scientific and institutional leaders of tomorrow. The juries should therefore do their job rigorously”, added Dr Mas-Colell.

Meanwhile, the jury of the 15th Edition of Banc Sabadell Foundation Award for Biomedical Research, after reviewing the 55 entries submitted with basic, clinical and epidemiological research profiles, has decided that the 2020 award goes to Dr Guillermina López-Bendito for her innovative contribution in the field of developmental neurobiology, making pioneering contributions to understanding the formation and plasticity of nerve connections during brain development, under normal conditions and in sensory deprivation models. Her research may inspire the design of tools capable of repairing defective neuronal connections in patients with congenital or acquired sensory deficits, such as some cases of blindness.

Dr. Oscar Marin, chair of the Biomedical Research Award Jury said: “This year we have opted for Dr. López-Bendito, who has stood out for the originality and impact of her research on the development and plasticity of thebrain. The jury has recognized that Dr. López-Bendito’s research can inspire the design of tools capable of repairing faulty neural connections in patients with congenital or acquired sensory deficits, such as some cases of blindness.”

“We hope that this award will serve to encourage Dr. López-Bendito to continue advancing in her study of brain development and diseases”, added Dr. Marin.

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