• ICFO
  • VHIR
  • ProCareLight
  • UPF

The Institute of Photonic Sciences was founded in 2002 in the Mediterranean Technology Park in the metropolitan area of Barcelona, the institute currently hosts 400 people, organized in 26 research groups in 60 state-of-the-art research laboratories. Research lines encompass diverse areas in which photonics plays a decisive role, with an emphasis on basic and applied themes relevant to medicine and biology, advanced imaging techniques, information technologies, a range of environmental sensors, tunable and ultra-fast lasers, quantum science and technologies, photovoltaics and the properties and applications of nano and quantum materials such as graphene, among others. In addition to two consecutive accreditations of the Severo Ochoa national program for research excellence, ICFOnians have been awarded 15 elite ICREA Professorships and 36 European Research Council grants. ICFO participates actively in the European Technological Platform Photonics21 and is very proactive in fostering entrepreneurial activities, spin-off creation, and creating collaborations and links between industry and ICFO researchers. To date, ICFO has helped create 7 start-up companies. 

The Medical Optics group led by Prof. Dr Durduran has pioneered the development of diffuse correlation spectroscopy (DCS) and its multi-modal implementations for clinical applications.


Turgut Durduran

Group Leader/ Professor

He started the ICFO-Medical Optics group in 2009. He has led as a principal investigator several collaborative research projects funded by the National Institutes of Health (USA), the Ministry of Science and Innovation (Spain), the Spanish Health Ministry (ISCIII), the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (MICINN), Catalan regional government and the European Council.

The Vall d’Hebron Research Institute (VHIR) is a basic, clinical and translational research institute, created in 1994. It is a public sector institution that belongs to the Catalan Health Institute and is in charge of promoting and developing research and biomedical innovation at the Vall d’Hebron University Hospital (HUVH). The objective of the research that is being carried out is to find solutions to the health problems of citizens and to achieve improvements in care for clinical practice. Given that most of the VHIR research staff are, in turn, clinical staff linked to the Vall d’Hebron University Hospital, the research carried out has a more immediate practical translation.

The Neurotraumatology and Neurosurgery Research Unit (UNINN), one of the VHIR research units, was established in 1990, and since 2007, it has been part of the Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona (Spain) Research Groups. The UNINN conduct both basic and clinical research, with the aim of transferring benchside discoveries to the bedside. We have robust intramural synergies, national collaborations with basic scientists, and international collaborations and alliances with researchers from multiple countries and institutions with whom we share common research goals.


Mª Antonia Poca

Head of the Neurotraumatology and Neurosurgery Research Unit

She is the Clinical Head of the Pediatric Neurosurgery Unit at the Vall d’Hebron Hospital, and she is an associate professor of the UAB and coordinator of the Neurotraumatology and Neurosurgery Research Unit (UNINN) of the Vall Hebron Research Institute. She has been part of several health innovation projects and multinational European projects.


Juan Sahuquillo

Head of the Neurosurgery Service at the Vall d’Hebron University Hospital

He is also the Head of the Arnau de Vilanova University Hospital in Lleida and a Professor of the Department of Surgery of the Autonomous University of Barcelona. He is also the coordinator of the Neurotraumatology and Neurosurgery Research Unit (UNINN), a member of the Executive Committee of the European Brain Injury Consortium (EBIC), and of the steering committee of the Brain IT network and a regular contributor to the Cochrane Collaboration.

ProCareLight SL (PCL) was founded in 2013 by a team of scientists with extensive experience in safety and quality auditing, as well as, in-depth knowledge of laser and light-emitting systems. PCL is a spin-off of ICFO. Because of its extensive expertise in safety issues for the use of lasers and intense light-emitting systems, PCL specialises in the provision of safety services and protective products against optical radiation for different sectors.


José María Silvestre

CEO and co-founder

Telecommunication Engineer, he is the administrator and executive director of ProCareLight since its creation in 2013. Before co-founding ProCareLight, he was Director of the Laser Marking Division at MACSA, developing and producing industrial marking systems, Business Development Manager at AD-TELECOM promoting innovation projects for aerospace and telecom sectors and Project Manager at the i2cat Foundation performing management and dissemination activities of several FP7 projects.


Youcef Lebour

Laser Safety and Technology Specialist

After obtaining his PhD in silicon photonics applications at the University of Barcelona, he worked as a project manager at the diode laser company Monocrom SL. He was responsible for the conceptual, optical and mechanical designs of diode pumped solid state lasers (DPSSL), the components definition, the lab tests and characterization, the validation and industrialization and the financial follow-up of the development process.

The Pompeu Fabra University is a public university located in the city of Barcelona, Catalonia in Spain. The university was created by the Autonomous Government of Catalonia in 1990 and was named after Pompeu Fabra. UPF has been ranked the best university in Spain since 2015 and the 16th best young university in the world in 2022 by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

The Barcelona Centre for New Medical Technologies (BCN -MedTech) is a research unit recognized as a consolidated group by the Generalitat de Catalunya. It has a strong focus on biomedical integrative research, including mathematical and computational models, algorithms and systems for computer-aided diagnosis and treatment, and their translation to relevant clinical problems and industrial products. The research unit, which has received the TECNIO accreditation, holds more than 200 I+D projects, 95 external collaborations, >1000 high-impact publications, 19 patents and 65 PhD Thesis. BCN MedTech further counts with a proper supercomputer infrastructure, and it has received the TECNIO certification from the Government of Catalonia.


Gemma Piella

Full Professor

She obtained her degree in Telecommunication Engineering from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC), and a PhD in Applied Sciences from the Universiteit van Amsterdam, The Netherlands. From 2003 to 2004, she was at UPC as a visiting professor. She then stayed at Télécom Paris, as a post-doctoral Marie Curie fellowship until 2005. Since then, she has been at UPF, at the Department of Information and Communication Technologies, first as a visiting professor, then as a Ramón y Cajal researcher, and currently as a Full Professor. Her research work focuses on medical image analysis and machine learning for personalized medicine. She is the author of more than 200 peer-reviewed publications. She received the distinction of ICREA Research Academia 2021 and Premi DonaTIC 2022.  


Miguel Ángel Gonzalez Ballester 

ICREA Professor

He is an ICREA Research Professor at UPF since October 2013. Degree in Computer Science from Universitat Jaume I (1996), and a doctorate from the University of Oxford (2000). He was a senior researcher at Toshiba Medical Systems (Japan), INRIA (France), and the University of Bern (Switzerland), where he was leading the Surgical Technology Division at the Faculty of Medicine. From 2008 until 2013 he was in charge of the Research Department of the company Alma IT Systems in Barcelona. His research focus is on computerised medical image analysis and computer-assisted surgery, including image processing and computer vision, image-based diagnosis, medical imaging physics, computational modelling and simulation of virtual organs and surgical interventions, navigation in computer-assisted surgery, surgical devices and implants, surgical robotics and translational research focusing on concrete clinical and industrial applications. He was the coordinator for the European research project HEAR-EU, which has approx. 400 publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals and conferences, and has supervised 20 PhD theses. He was awarded Fellowships from Toshiba and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.  

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