Department of Experimental and Health Sciences (DCEXS)

The Department of Experimental and Health Sciences (DCEXS) of Pompeu Fabra University combines the creation and transfer of knowledge through the seamless integration of research and teaching. Innovation in education and research excellence are the cornerstones of our efforts.

The DCEXS hosts 35 research groups divided into eight distinct programmes spanning a wide range of topics, from molecular biology to public health.

In addition to the research, the DCEXS offers four undergraduate programmes, five master’s degrees and a PhD programme in Biomedicine. The DCEXS is strategically located within Barcelona’s Biomedical Research Park.

Excellence and recognition awards

In 2014, and again in 2018, the Department was distinguished as a “María de Maeztu” Unit of Excellence. The “Severo Ochoa- María de Maeztu” programme is funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness. Their aim is to accredit public research centres and units in any field in which they demonstrate scientific leadership and can have a global impact whilst at the same time actively collaborating in their social and business environment.

The UPF and the Department of Experimental and Health Sciences have a strong international composition, show great dynamism in research and consider transversal education as a must. This international projection has been recognised by the Spanish Ministry of Education through the International Campus of Excellence award (2010) and is backed up by the UPF's distinguished position in international rankings as one of the top Spanish universities.

The educational work of the DCEXS has been widely recognised. For example, the DCEXS holds several teaching quality awards as the “Jaume Vicens Vives distinction for university teaching quality”, and the UPF Council awards to the professors’ teaching trajectory, to the teaching innovation, and to the teaching activity within a bachelor’s or master’s degrees. As for the overall teaching evaluation, the DCEXS is the highest scoring UPF department. Furthermore, the quality of the DCEXS undergraduate degrees, Master’s degrees, and PhD Programme in Biomedicine have been recognized in recent external evaluations by the Spanish Ministry of Education and Agència per a la Qualitat del Sistema Universitari de Catalunya (AQU-Catalunya), with the degrees in Human Biology and Biomedical Engineering, and the MSc in Biomedical Research, Bioinformatics, and Public Health accredited with “Excellence”. Importantly, our international PhD program in Biomedicine was awarded the recognition “Towards Excellence” by the Spanish Ministry of Education and AQU-Catalunya in December 2018.

Ranking positioning

The UPF appears on some of the most influential global rankings:

  • 1st Spanish university, 140th worldwide and 60th in Europe (Times Higher Education ranking, 2018).
  • 11th highest-ranked university worldwide among universities aged 50 and under (Times Higher Education Young Universities Ranking, 2018).
  • 2nd university in Spain and among the top 250 universities in the world (Shanghai ranking, 2018).

The University also ranks high in health and life sciences:

  • 12th young university in the world in life sciences (Young Universities Nature Index, 2019).
  • 125th in the world in clinical, pre-clinical and health studies (Times Higher Education ranking, 2018).
  • 28th in the world in public health (Shanghai ranking, 2018).
  • Among the top 75 in the world in biotechnology (Shanghai ranking, 2018).
  • Among the top 100 in the world in biological sciences (Shanghai ranking, 2018).
  • Among the top 150 in the world in medical technology (Shanghai ranking, 2018).
Director of the center
David Comas

David Comas

  • Head of the Human Genome Diversity Group at the DCEXS since 2001.
  • Director of the DCEXS since 2016, and scientific director of both DCEXS María de Maeztu awards (2014 and 2018).
  • Member of the Institut de Biologia Evolutiva (CSIC-UPF), for which he was the vice-Director (2014-2016).
  • Comas obtained the extraordinary PhD and the Best PhD Thesis defended in 1997 awards.
  • His research is focused on the analysis of the genome diversity in human populations in order to define and quantify the processes that have modelled the present genomic variation in humans.
Renowned researcher
Marc Güell Cargol

Marc Güell Cargol

  • Tenure Track professor at UPF.
  • Coordinator of Master in Pharmaceutical and Biotechnological Industry.
  • Head of the Translational Synthetic Biology Laboratory.
  • Coordinator of synthetic biology and tissue and cell engineering classes.    
  • Coufounder of Sbiomedic and founding scientist of Egenesis Biosciences.
The project

Synthetic biology has a growing impact in our society. Engineering life opens unthinkable possibilities such as genetically programming our immune system to defeat cancer, meat without animal components, DNA-based information storage, or bioremediation solutions to fight pollution of our planet. Interested in biosciences and solving real world problems? By combining theory and experimentation we will develop cellular devices capable to perform specific tasks. Join us and get into the synbio world!