The award was presented at the international conference Splicing 2016, which was held in Caparica, Portugal, and brought together experts in biology, biochemistry, medicine and engineering.

 JuanP Premio web

Juan Pablo Romero, a PhD student in the Biostatistics group at Tecnun-Ceit, won an award at the recent Splicing 2016 conference for his study on biological alterations, which was directed by Professor Angel Rubio. The conference was held in Caparica, Portugal.

Splicing, according to Wikipedia, is a co-transcriptional process of cutting and joining RNA, but Juan Pablo would surely demand the concept be clarified as “a biological process that seems to be responsible for different alterations in organisms, and therefore a possible cause of diseases or pathologies”.

Juan Pablo’s presentation was on EventPointer, “an algorithm that we’ve developed in the department that allows us to identify all the possible measurable alternative splicing events using techniques such as microarrays and RNASeq”. As if that were not enough, Romero, who is pleased to have won the Excellent Shotgun Communication Award, added that, “our algorithm runs a statistical analysis to show which events are more likely to change when healthy and sick patients are compared”.

Top experts from around the globe (Australia, USA, Holland, England, Spain, etc.) and representing the fields of biology, biochemistry, medicine and engineering attended the conference in order to discuss the latest advances in splicing. Within the scientific program, junior researchers were given the opportunity to present their research as a poster and a five-minute oral presentation.

When Romero was asked his opinion about his conference experience, he stated that, “it is amazing to see how the need for multidisciplinary research is becoming more prevalent”. In speaking with other participants over the course of the conference, he discovered that “many talked about the lack of engineers and computational biologists that are able to analyze the data that biologists have gathered and arrive at better conclusions and results. This is where we see the real application of our field to current research”.

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