The UB and GSK present a new chair on autoimmune diseases

Presentation of the chair.

Presentation of the chair.


The UB and the pharmaceutical company GSK presented today the new UB-GSK Chair on Autoimmune Diseases, an initiative to improve the health of those patients who live with autoimmune pathologies promoting teaching, research and the dissemination of knowledge in the field of these diseases.

In the opening ceremony, the rector of the UB, Joan Guàrdia, stated that "the UB and Hospital Clínic make a pairing of experience and knowledge on autoimmune diseases which now, with the participation of GSK in this chair, has been strengthened to deal with future challenges".

Ricard Cervera, academic vice-dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences of the UB, is the director of the new chair. Regarding this type of collaboration between the University and the companies, Cervera noted that "the UB has created more than thirty chairs of this kind", and that "regarding the growing relevance of autoimmune diseases, it is convenient to dedicate this place to such pathologies". Among the participants will be members of the Autoimmune Diseases Service of Hospital Clínic, a reference centre for systemic autoimmune diseases, vasculitis and autoinflammatory diseases, of which he is head.

The agreement between the academic institution and the pharmaceutical company intends, in addition, to allocate grants to students of the UB master’s degree on Advanced Medical Skills: Autoimmune Diseases, in order to make them be part of the complementary activities of these studies. Moreover, there will be a call for a prize and two secondary awards to the top master’s degree final projects. Also, there will be two annual postgraduate conferences for health professionals interested in this field and open to the international community, with the participation of national and international distinguished speakers.

"We talk about an ideal collaboration path between the University and companies and entities to reach objectives of common interest and develop joint training, research, dissemination, knowledge transfer, cultural and social activities", noted Cervera. An example of this kind of activities was the Autoimmunity Day 2021: "Lupus and kidney: change of paradigm", a session that took place within the framework of the Chair last September 30, which was well received among health professionals, with 334 attendants from Spain and several countries from Latin America.

Ricardo Boedo-Facal, Regional Government Affairs Director , highlighted that these initiatives, "apart from training future professionals, enable us to improve the quality of life of those people who live with autoimmune pathologies". A challenge for which "it is fundamental to promote quality research and training for health professionals, as well as knowledge exchange", she added.

Among the atendants was Graham Hughes, who received an honorary doctorate by the UB, and is also the founder of the Antiphospholipid syndrome, which occurs when the immune system mistakenly generates antibodies that make blood much more likely to clot. Highes stressed that this initiative "marks a milestone, not only in the field of research on autoimmunity but also in the growth of this branch of medicine", which he considered "a tribute to Barcelona and to the Catalan and Spanish medicine".

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