Geneticists David Bueno and Gemma Marfany claim need for scientific dissemination

David Bueno and Gemma Marfany claimed there is a need for dissemination, yesterday at the university during the ceremony in which they were awarded ex aequo the 6th Award of the Doctors’ Senate and Board of Trustees to the best scientific and humanities dissemination activities. The ceremony was presided by the rector of the UB, Joan Elias, with the attendance of the president of the Board of Trustees, Joan Corominas, and the vice-president of the Doctors’ Senate, Xavier M. Triadó.

“We live in a scientifically illiterate society”, warned Bueno, who then explained this lack of knowledge with the fact that science is all around, ranging from the medicines we take up to the processes to create the clothes we wear. The lecturer of the Department of Genetics, Microbiology and Statistics noted dissemination is important: “If we want a participative democracy we have to have knowledge elements in the scientific fields too”. In the disseminating task, scientists are challenged to use a different language than the one they often use while keeping a scientific rigour.

Gemma Marfany noted she is the first women to receive this award and advocated the researchers’ dissemination task to be distinguished. She noted that the University of Barcelona should become “a source of truthful and tested information” for citizens. The researcher talked about the need to disseminate the scientific task because it is a way to “spread knowledge that can help ‘touch’ many brains”. Gemma Marfany, also lecturer at the Department of Genetics, Microbiology and Statistics, referred to the importance of genetics as “decisive in the future, and knowing what it is about, empowers us”, before the award ceremony.

David Bueno is a lecturer at the Department of Genetics, Microbiology and Statistics of the UB. His career has been mainly developed in Barcelona and Oxford. He carries out an important science dissemination and socialization task through articles, books and in the media. For instance, he collaborates in the newspapers Ara and El Punt Avui, as well as in Ràdio 4 and TV3. He published seventeen dissemination books, a novel to bring biology closer to youngsters and about 500 journalistic articles. He has also collaborated in encyclopaedic works, such as Gran Enciclopèdia Catalana and Història Natural dels Països Catalans, and was the scientific director of the Atles dels Ecosistemes dels Països Catalans, from Grup Enciclopèdia Catalana. He is the director and editor of the book collection on scientific dissemination Catàlisi, by Editions and Publications of the University of Barcelona, an initiative aiming to show, in a communicative but rigorous way, a wide range of themes on current science.   

David Bueno is the co-author of sixty scientific articles and has participated in more than fifteen research projects. His main research lines are composition, function and homeostatic control of embryonal cerebrospinal fluid in the development of the central nervous system of vertebrates, and the application of neuroscience in the improvement of educational systems (neuroeducation).

Gemma Marfany is also a lecturer at the Department of Genetics, Microbiology and Statistics of the UB. She published several books on scientific dissemination about forensic DNA and ageing genetics, and took part in television and radio programs, and many interviews for newspapers. She has a weekly section in the online journal El Nacional, in which she publishes dissemination articles on scientific advances with a great media impact. She makes contributions to the journal Mètode and gives conferences in schools on research, she participates in cineforums and promotes other dissemination activities.

The scientific and academic career of Gemma Marfany has been carried out in Barcelona, Edinburgh and Oxford. She is now leading a research group of the UB on human molecular genetics on genes that cause hereditary blindness and is the head of the U718 Unit at the Rare Diseases Biomedical Research Center (CIBERER). She is also member of the Institute of Biomedicine of the UB (IBUB), of the Bioethics and Law Observatory and the Bioethics Commission of the UB. She has more than 85 publications, has supervised eleven doctoral theses and many master’s and bachelor’s final degree projects. In 2018, she co-founded a spin-off on the genetic diagnostic of genetic eye diseases, DBGen.  

Source: UB