BIST celebrates the graduation of the fifth class of the Master of Multidisciplinary Research in Experimental Sciences and welcomes the 2022/2023 class students

In a ceremony that took place at La Pedrera Auditorium yesterday, BIST celebrated the graduation of the 2021/2022 class of the Master of Multidisciplinary Research in Experimental Sciences (MMRES), the fifth edition since the master’s programme was launched back in September 2017. The ceremony brought together 85 students and supervisors from all MMRES editions, including the 22 students of the 2022/2023 class, who had just met for the first time at the BIST premises on that same morning.

Opening the ceremony, Prof. Joan Guinovart, Academic Director of the BIST Dolors Aleu Graduate Center, reminded the audience that the MMRES is a programme with an important hands-on component, in which students spend most of the time developing research projects within the host research groups in the seven BIST Centres and MELIS-UPF. “This is a Master programme to do research in an exceptionally vibrant atmosphere,” pointed out Prof. Guinovart.

The ceremony counted with the participation of MMRES alumni from different classes, who shared their experiences on stage. Arienne Bercowsky, alumni from the first Master edition, explained that the MMRES opened her the doors to pursue a PhD degree at EPFL (Lausanne, Switzerland). Bercowsky, who will be defending her PhD thesis later this week, plans to stay in Switzerland, where she already secured a job position, after obtaining the doctoral degree.

Highlight on Multidisciplinarity

The multidisciplinary nature of the master’s programme was highlighted as one of the main assets in the presentations by both students and professors.

Dr. Rubén Vicente, researcher at Pompeu Fabra University and MMRES academic coordinator in the five first MMRES editions, gave the keynote lecture. Focusing on his main research topic, -the pathophysiology of zinc signalling- he gave three examples of multidisciplinary research collaborations he engaged with. These collaborations have unveiled new and surprising roles of zinc transporters in evolution, cancer and immunology.

Prof. Roderic Guigó, researcher at the CRG and MMRES co-director, illustrated how the research articles authored by a single author went from norm to rare exception in 50 years’ time. “At this Master programme you will be trained to work with people that have a background that is different from yours,” highlighted.

Two of the graduating class students, Marina Lantarón and Ferriol Calvet, talked about the experience of the 2021/2022 class, in the MMRES, but and also in the weekends and holidays that spent together, discovering many places and foods. “As students of this Master, we have felt what multidisciplinary meant. In research it took, patience, curiosity and passion; but for us its recipe was this people, kindness, and time well spent”, said Calvet. “We encourage you all to find your own definitions of multidisciplinarity, and to the incoming class, to enjoy the journey as much as we have,” added Lantarón.

Empowering students as young researchers

As it was noted in the ceremony by Dr. Robert Sewell,  Head of academics affairs at ICFO and MMRES Codirector,  77% of former MMRES students enrolled in PhD Programmes after graduating from the Master programme. BIST Director of Programmes and MMRES Co-coordinator Dr. Núria Bayó explained that “along the editions we are giving a more active role to students”. “You give presentations of scientific papers with invited speakers, present major and minor projects in front of your research groups, defend scientific posters…,” she reminded to the students. This is our approach to prepare the future leading scientists, added Bayó.

The event was closed by BIST president Prof. Andreu Mas-Colell who identified the MMRES as a “talent farm” where young talent emerges systematically. Overall, it was a ceremony to look back and celebrate the 5-year MMRES trajectory, to thank all the people who contributed to it, to recognize the professional and vital trajectories of the alumni and, to give a warm welcome to the new class!