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Show 0.0 1052x591 2021.10.08 ndp robertobrea

The University of A Coruña incorporates two new researchers to CITIC and CICA with the talent attraction program of the Galician Government

08/Oct/2021 Research Coordinación

The ICT Research Center (CITIC) and the Center for Advanced Scientific Research (CICA) of the University of A Coruña, have just incorporated two researchers in the framework of the grants for the attraction and retention of research talent in the category of distinguished research personnel in the universities of the Galician University System, called by the Xunta de Galicia. The researchers who joined the research centers of the UDC are Diego Álvarez Estévez and Roberto Javier Brea Fernández. 

The researcher Diego Álvarez Estévez recently joined the Artificial Intelligence area of CITIC, to develop generalizable and robust automatic learning models in the context of multiple independent data sources. Coming from the Haaglanden Medisch Centrum (HMC) in the Netherlands, where he held the position of chief engineer in the department of sound and clinical neurophysiology, he will now continue to develop his research career at CITIC in the field of applied Artificial Intelligence. At HMC he had the opportunity to apply the knowledge acquired during the development of his doctoral thesis in a real environment, making more efficient the diagnosis of the different sound disorders, providing the medical team with interpreted information, which considerably reduces the assessment time and increases the reliability of the diagnosis.

At CITIC, the researcher will focus on investigating the problems associated with the development of automatic learning models to achieve robust generalization capabilities in the context of multiple independent data sources. According to Álvarez, "the line of research focuses on exploring the possibilities for Machine Learning algorithms to work better in changing environments, since they tend to have a problem of variability depending on the reference database. This means that the algorithms work correctly when using the database from which they were created, but present problems when the system is extrapolated to another environment. In the clinical setting, for example, this happens when the system must evaluate patients who come from different centers, or whose data were acquired with different diagnostic equipment". 

The research aims to address these problems, delving into the development of more flexible and generalizable automatic learning models, both from the point of view of their design and in terms of their capacity to carry out more robust and independent inferential processes from the source data source.

The researcher Roberto Brea Fernández joined CICA in July to start his own research group called BIOMEMCHEM (Biomimetic Membrane Chemistry). During his training as a PhD in chemistry at the University of Santiago de Compostela he had the opportunity to deepen the study of nanoscience, the scientific area that has marked his work until now. As a postdoctoral researcher he spent most of his time at the University of California, San Diego, where he received the HFSP-CDF (Human Frontier Science Program - Cross-Disciplinary Fellowship), a prestigious research grant thanks to which he specialized in the construction of synthetic functional cells. These structures have important applications in the study of the origin of life, the fabrication of bioreactors, the transport of drugs to specific areas of the organism and the design of therapeutic agents.

The recently formed group focuses mainly on the synthesis of lipids for the generation of artificial cells, as well as to modulate the properties of proteins in living cells and organisms. Their research is particularly relevant to understand the activity of these molecules, which are essential in energy storage, regulatory processes and structural function. Further studies show potential applications in the treatment of diseases such as cancer, diabetes and neurodegenerative disorders.


CITIC is a Galician Research Center that promotes progress and excellence in R&D&I applied to ICT. Promoted by the University of A Coruña, in 2016 the Xunta de Galicia recognizes CITIC as a Singular Research Center of Galicia 2016-2019 due to its scientific trajectory. In 2019 it renews this accreditation and is renamed Research Center of Galicia. The scientific activity of CITIC is structured in four main research areas: Artificial Intelligence; Data Science and Engineering; High Performance Computing and Intelligent Services and Networks; and a transversal research area, Cybersecurity. One of the objectives of CITIC is to make the results of its research available to society, so the center promotes citizen science actions and dissemination activities that enhance scientific vocations and ensure the renewal of talent in the field of ICT.

About CICA

The CICA is a multidisciplinary research center, promoted by the UDC in 2015 with the mission of bringing together leading research groups in chemistry and biology. Its facilities are equipped with the latest technologies, which are in continuous evolution. The center has more than 150 people highly committed to the transfer of technology and scientific knowledge to society, as evidenced by the projects shared with companies, the spin-offs and the large number of outreach activities they carry out. Gender equality and the visibility of women scientists are among the objectives of the CICA, which has a female presence of more than 50% of the staff.