Dr María Mittelbrunn wins the 17th Edition of the Banco Sabadell Foundation Award for Biomedical Research and Prof Samuel Sánchez the 6th Edition of the Award for Sciences and Engineering

The Banco Sabadell Foundation, which recently received the 2021 National Award for Scientific Patronage given by the Catalan Foundation for Research and Innovation, celebrates a new edition of its awards and recognises the contributions made by Spanish researchers in the fields of cellular immunology and nanotechnology.

The Banco Sabadell Foundation Award for Biomedical Research marks its 17th Edition with the aim of recognising young researchers with an outstanding track record in the fields of biomedicine and health sciences who stand out in their respective specialties for their ability to innovate.

This year, the jury (chaired by Dr Oscar Marín) selected Dr María Mittelbrunn as the winner for her research work on the key role of the immune system in the control of organ and tissue ageing. Specifically, she demonstrated the early ageing of the entire body as a result of an alteration in cellular immunity.

María Mittelbrunn, PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the Autonomous University of Madrid, is head scientist at the Spanish National Scientific Research Council and is lead researcher at the immunometabolism and inflammation laboratory of the Severo Ochoa Molecular Biology Centre (CSIC-UAM).

Dr Mittelbrunn is researching molecular mechanisms by which ageing immune cells contribute to chronic inflammation and age-related diseases, as well as the importance of vascular metabolism in the development of aortic aneurysms. Recent data from the lab suggests that vascular metabolism can also be relevant for neurodegenerative diseases of autoimmune origin, such as multiple sclerosis.

The Banco Sabadell Foundation Award for Sciences and Engineering, organised together with the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology, aims to highlight the work of young researchers who stand out in the fields of mathematics, chemistry, physics and engineering.

Thejury of this 6th Edition, chaired by Prof Andreu Mas-Colell, has recognised the work of Dr Samuel Sánchez, for his outstanding track record in pioneering interdisciplinary research. He is a leader in the field of nanorobotics, an innovative field with impact from basic science to applications. His work is world-class and is a benchmark in the field, ranging from fundamental aspects of chemistry to applications in both the biomedical and environmental fields.

Samuel Sánchez, PhD in Chemistry from the Autonomous University of Barcelona, is an ICREA lecturer, team leader and deputy director at the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia, Barcelona; and honorary professor at HIT in Harbin, China and associate professor at POSTECH, South Korea. He previously worked at Max Planck and Leibniz in Germany and Japan. He has received many accolades for his pioneering work in nanorobotics, as well as some of the most competitive projects at national and European level, such as four ERC Grants, including the Consolidator Grant he currently receives. He has published more than 150 articles, presented more than 130 conferences and has seven patents, one of them licensed to the spin-off of which he is a founder.


In addition, every year the Banco Sabadell Foundation opens the application process for its research grants to pre-doctoral candidates of Spanish nationality who are in the process of completing their doctoral thesis at any Spanish or foreign university. These grants are aimed at the promotion and development of scientific works or research stays at Spanish or foreign universities and other research centres, preferably in the fields of economic, business and social knowledge.


This year, 15 grants have been awarded to develop research works that help to understand the biggest cultural, economic, political or social challenges of our time or which can significantly expand on the field of expertise to which they relate.