Sílvia Osuna wins Catalonian National Research Award for Young Talent

Every year the Catalan Foundation for Research and Innovation (FCRI), with the support of the Catalan Government, organises the Catalonian National Research Awards. These prestigious awards recognise and reflect different aspects of research, science communication and outreach. One of these awards is for Young Talent, in recognition of the outstanding effort of a junior researcher (under 40) working in- or outside Catalonia, whose professional career has been characterized internationally by the quality and excellence of his or her scientific research work. Other aspects such as technology transfer and the social impact of his or her research will also be assessed for the award, for which only universities, research centers, academies, etc. can nominate.

Today the FCRI announced that our Sílvia Osuna has been awarded this year’s Young Talent award, which is accompanied by a statuette by sculptor/ceramic artist Jordi Serra and 10.000 EUR.

Premi Nacional de Recerca al Talent Jove 2020: Sílvia Osuna

CV Sílvia Osuna

Sílvia Osuna (Castelló d’Empúries, 1983) obtained her PhD degree in Chemistry at the University of Girona (UdG) under the guidance of Prof. Miquel Solà and Prof. Marcel Swart. From 2010 to 2012 she was a Marie Curie fellow at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), in the group of Prof. Ken Houk (2010-2012), and returned afterwards to Girona for the third year of Marie Curie fellowship. This was followed by the prestigious Juan de la Cierva (2013-2016) and Ramón y Cajal fellowships (2016-2021), and a Starting Grant (1.5m EUR) of the European Research Council to continue her research at the Institut de Química Computacional i Catàlisi (IQCC) of the UdG. Early 2017 she obtained a permanent position as ICREA Professor at the IQCC, and earlier this year she was awarded a Human Frontiers Science Program project together with research groups from Canada, USA and Japan.

Osuna specializes in the study of biochemical processes related to enzymatic catalysis and the development of computer simulations and tools for the design of new enzymes of interest to the pharmaceutical industry. By means of these computer simulations it is possible to identify which parts of the structure of the enzyme can be modified in order to favor a certain reaction or to recognize other substrates of high industrial interest. The tools developed for the study of enzymatic catalysis also extend to research into the process of recognition between proteins and fullerenes (carbon molecules that take on geometric shapes similar to spheres) for the generation of new materials.

This National Award follows a series of other prizes such as the Lilly Prize for Young Investigators 2019, EuChemS Young Investigator Award 2017, RSEQ Young Investigator Award 2016, and the Premi Fundació Princesa de Girona Recerca Científica 2016. Osuna has published >75 scientific papers in top journals (e.g. JACS, ChemComm, Angewandte Chemie, ACS Catalysis, and Nature), which have been cited more than 2000 times.

Girona, June 29, 2020