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University research is the cornerstone for the progress of our society and the understanding of our world. “Through participation in research projects, students acquire skills such as critical thinking, problem solving and the ability to research independently. Only through research can one achieve the highest degree awarded by the university: the PhD,” says Coral Barbas in an interview in the newspaper Información.
Barbas discusses the importance of research in the university environment and its impact on society at large; the challenges and opportunities faced by researchers in the field of Analytical Chemistry; and the balance between research and teaching at the university level.
Regarding the role of university research he states that “it contributes to the creation and expansion of knowledge in a wide range of disciplines, from the natural and social sciences to humanities and the arts, and it is essential for the development of society and the understanding of our world, without an immediate economic goal. In addition, research enriches the expertise and skills of university faculty, which translates into higher quality teaching. This improvement in faculty quality benefits students by providing them with a more up-to-date and effective education, which contributes to the development of academic institutions and society in general.”
Research and teaching are fundamental activities in the mission of a university. To promote a research culture, team building and institutional support are key, as well as recognizing and rewarding research and promoting publication.
To solve global problems and challenges, global answers are required and only through interdisciplinary collaboration will we be able to address them.
She also argues that the role of analytical chemistry in science and society is crucial, from the analysis of individual cells to the analysis of the entire metabolism of a biological sample. Food safety and health research is essential in the growing concern for food safety and human health.
With years of research behind them, concepts such as omics technologies, single cell analysis and metabolic analysis will soon become common language.
In the interview, Coral Barba also shares examples of successful research that has had a significant impact on the scientific community or society.
In this regard, she comments that “a successful outcome is often associated with a long path of partial results that represent very small advances. Society is misinformed when it seems that a cure for cancer is discovered every day, but many small successive advances lead over time to an impact result. At the Centre for Metabolomics and Bioanalysis (CEMBIO) we have discovered markers that allow us to detect the development of Parkinson’s disease 10 years before the onset of symptoms. This is very relevant, but we need to validate the results in a larger cohort, understand and interpret the mechanisms of the disease, and so on.