INPhINIT and Junior Leader grants at the UB

Emanuele Fondi.
Emanuele Fondi.

Several researchers of the UB have been selected in the new call for doctoral grants (INPhINIT) and postdoctoral grants (Junior Leader) of "la Caixa" Foundation. The aim of these grants is to retain local talent of excellence and attract international researchers offering competitive salaries and complementary opportunities for the recruitment in cross-sectional skills.

Regarding the INPhINIT grants, the program has received 1,308 applications and it has selected 65 applicants: 24 from Spain and 41 from other countries. The Junior Leader grants, co-funded by the European Commission through the Marie Sklodowska-Curie COFUND Action within the Horizon 2020 framework, received more than 700 applicants. Out of the 45 participants, 20 come from Spain, and 25 come from other countries.

The following UB researchers have received the grants:

Doctoral grants in INPhINIT: 

Emanuele Fondi, from the Institute of Cosmos Sciences of the University of Barcelona (ICCUB), graduated in Physics at the Sapienza University of Rome, where he started his master studies in Theoretical Physics. He conducted his second year of the master’s degree as an Erasmus student in the International Centre of Fundamental Physics in the Paris Ecole Normale Superieure, and obtained his doctorate degree in May 2021 with the project "The impact of an element of Early Dark Energy in cosmological observables".

Carlos Ramos, also from ICCUB, focuosed on materials physics and quantum technologies after a stay in the quantum nano-optoelectronics group in the Institute of Photonic Sciences of Barcelona under the supervision of Frank Koopens. He studied the master’s degree on Physics at the University of Koln and during the doctoral studies, he focused on the out-of-equilibrium dynamics, of vital importance for quantum engineering, from analytical (field quantum theory) and numerical (tensor networks) perspectives.

Stella Nicolaou, from the Institute of Neurosciences (UBNeuro) wants to make a scientific contribution to help reduce the rate of self-injury in young adults with borderline personality disorder (BPT). Her PhD aims to explore the neural correlates of the social rewarding in healthy participants and young adults diagnosed with BPT. The aim of this project is to help identify alterations in the social reward neural processing in BPD and thus design better targeted interventions.

Junior Leader postdoctoral grants

Joanna Sierpowska, from the Institute of Neurosciences (UBNeuro) studied the functional neuroanatomy in patients with brain tumors using an innovative combination: the intra-surgical implementation of detailed language activity with the use of tractography of the brain white matter. As a postdoctoral researcher, she continued studying the functional anatomy of the brain in healthy people and people with a cerebrovascular accident. Also, she collaborates with a team of evolutionary neuroanatomy whose aim is to understand the neuroanatomical differences between humans and chimpanzees that could have made possible the appearance of language in humans.

Robie Hennigar, from the ICCUB, will approach, in his project, the open problems of the internal structure of black holes. He will do so through two ways. First, by developing a more complete comprehension of the internal structure of black holes fusions, focusing on simple models that allow the prevention of complex numerical simulations. Second, using the concept of complexity of quantum circuits to probe the internal structure of black holes through the holographic duality, establishing connections between geometry, thermodynamics and the theory of information. Robie Heennigar is the author of more than forty articles, which have more than 1,800 citations, and has received the Banting postdoctoral grant, the most important grant in Canada.

Juan Felipe Pedraza Avella, from ICCUB, wants to study how fundamental freedom levels of general theories of quantum gravity can be described through the language of quantum information. The results of this study will be especially relevant regarding the problems of quantum gravity, from the information paradox to astrophysical black holes and cosmology. The study goes in line with the recent discoveries in quantum gravity that showed surprising relations between geometry, gravity and quantum information.

Other researchers from institutions with UB participation have received grants. In the INPhINIT grants, the selected researchers have been: Giovanna Fico, from the August Pi i Sunyer Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBAPS); Anne-Sophie Chong, Juan Antonio Marín and Veronica Testa, from the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL); Marc Trani from the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC); Faqrul Islam Chowdhury, from the Research Centre and Forestry Applicaions (CREAF); Daniel Colic and Maria Quintana from the Institute for Biomedical Research (IRB); and Juan Carlos Gabaldon, Isabelle Munyangaju, Megan Naidoo i David Torres from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal). As for the Junior Leader grants, the selected researhers were: Silvia Affo, from IDIBAPS; Veronika Magdanz, Iris Cristina da Luz Batalha and Mohit Kumar from IBEC; Luis Gomez and Marcos Fernández, from CREAF; and Cristina Mayor and Alejo Rodríguez, from IRB.