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Lost in Translation... o cómo lograr que tu investigación importe

Lost in Translation... or How to Make Your Research Matter

I would love to tell you what I do for a living. Not sure you’ll be interested, though; it’s been a while since biomedical research lost its glamour. Yes, we all make an effort to communicate what we do with our lives (professionally speaking, that is), hoping that someone will find it exciting.  But there is not a lot of time for that; these days attention span is dictated by irritating sounds notifying us about incoming emails or messages from whatever social network we belong to. So the window of opportunity is small. You cannot do better than a cat flushing a toilette, right? Or can you?

The idea is to communicate that your research matters. It matters because it offers a potential solution to an important health problem

Actually, you can. The idea is to communicate that your research matters. It matters because it offers a potential solution to an important health problem. This is what we call translational research: we translate our research findings into a solution to a clinical question. Let me explain this with an example. Ever since the first antibiotics appeared we have been able to control a large proportion of bacterial infections. It’s been a while (decades!) that we haven’t been able to produce a new class of antibiotics. We have just started to catch up with our homework. Bacteria on the other hand, have been diligently boycotting any attempt we have made to tweak or modify existing antibiotics.

Some bacteria are so good at this job that they have developed mechanisms of resistance to almost everything. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is now a global health problem of alarming proportions which requires an urgent solution. A lot of research groups are coming up with different strategies to combat AMR, from biomarkers to discriminate bacterial and viral infections, to exotic ventures in the Amazon to identify novel compounds with antibacterial activity. So how do we go from the idea or product to a solution? How do we translate translational research?

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is now a global health problem of alarming proportions which requires an urgent solution

Unfortunately, the journey we have to navigate to get a good research product to a commercially available solution is long and complex.  I still remember the first time I had the idea to file a patent for a malaria biomarker. I called the technology transfer department and they first asked if I had done the due diligence and checked for prior art...What? It took me a year to become familiar with the terminology and a couple of years after the patent was accepted. But worry not! You will not have to go through this ordeal.

This year, for the first time, we have organised a short course that will help you navigate through the many complexities of testing, validating, patenting and licensing molecules or diagnostic biomarkers in the context of AMR research. 

For the first time, we have organised a short course that will help you navigate through the many complexities of testing, validating, patenting and licensing molecules or diagnostic biomarkers in the context of AMR research

The Eurolife Summer School, entitled “Antimicrobial drug resistance – Research and Innovation” will take place in Barcelona from 10th-14th July. This will be a highly interactive course. If you are currently conducting AMR-related research with a translational angle, you may find this course particularly helpful.

Find more information here



Nota: Las personas que integran ISGlobal persiguen ideas innovadoras con total independencia. Las opiniones expresadas en este blog son, por tanto, a título personal y no necesariamente reflejan el posicionamiento institucional.

Climent Casals-pascual

Associate Research Professor

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