Aragonese researchers, essential pieces to improve the quality of life | information

Aragon is a community scientific research manager. In areas such as science, health, energy or astrophysics, the Aragonese teams carry out projects on an international scale to fight diseases, take care of the environment or understand the origin of the cosmos. These are challenges that will be possible thanks to the best experts and the latest technologies on the market.

In the heart of the Pyrenees, in Canfranc, is one of the most important scientific centers in the country. Nearly a kilometer underground, nearly 300 researchers, like Carlos Peña, its director, are working to decipher the best-kept secret: how the origin of the universe. The first investigations of this laboratory were carried out in the tunnel itself, at the end of the 1980s. This space now houses 23 international experiences. NEXT, is the most promising. After an initial experimental phase, its infrastructure is expanding. “We are trying to demonstrate the essential facts that characterized how the initial formation of the components that form us took place. Without this process, we believe that the formation of matter and the universe would only be lightPena explains.

The Canfranc underground laboratory houses 23 international experiments. (Objective)

Quality of life improvements

The Research Support Service (SAI) of The University of Zaragoza, where 70 technicians work, meets the needs of researchers. Javier Sesé, its director, comments that the users who attend can come from any university and demand different designs and prototypes. In 2021, the SAI served more than 6,300 requests made by nearly 800 users. It is one of the great contributions of the University to the world scientific career, but it is not the only one.

Another key point is the Advanced microscopy laboratory. This is where national and international researchers, companies and laboratories know the composition of the materials they use in their fields. “Practically any field of research we imagine needs to visualize the material with which we work and analyze it and understand its chemical composition”, explains Pilar Cea, its director.

On the other hand, a team of Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) in Zaragoza, it belongs to the TRANS-ENER platform, which researches solutions for storing energy generated with hydrogen. “We are developing are the catalysts for these devices to work with a purpose, lower the cost and using other types of materials, metals, more available and cheaper,” explains María Jesús Lázaro, institutional delegate of the CSIC.

María Jesús Lázaro is the institutional delegate of the CSIC of Aragon.(Objective)

Animal disease research

There is research in the Community which, although it has a long history, continues to incorporate new technologies and new equipment. For example, in the fight against mad cow disease. More than 20 years after its worst peak, in the midst of a global food crisis, this pathology is under control but not extinct and there is no known cure. Therefore, advances in early diagnosis are essential. Researcher Alicia Otero explains that the main challenge is that they are difficult to detect. With their techniques, they can know “if in this soil, if in this environment there are prions that could represent a risk for a new herd that you reintroduce”, reveals Otero.

Aragón has one of the best teams in the sector: the Center for Encephalopathies and Emerging Communicable Diseases from the University of Zaragoza, directed by Juan José Badiola. Here, 600 cattle with mad cow disease were diagnosed, but their research has also led to advances other types of degenerative diseases with human affection. “For instance, el Alzheimer, o Huntingtonwe now know thanks to our progress that these diseases are also caused by the deposition of pathological proteins”, reveals Badiola.

Fight disease, take care of the planet or understand the origin of the cosmos These are titanic tasks in which the Aragonese teams have been and will be important allies.

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