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Manuel Romero, researcher at the University of Seville, wins the 11th Javier Benjumea Puigcerver Prize

May 12, 2014

  • The award winning work develops a non-invasive diagnostic system for hepatic pathologies

Seville, May 12, 2014.- University of Seville researcher, Manuel Romero, today received the 11th Javier Benjumea Puigcerver Research Prize for the extraordinary value of his work entitled, “DEMILI: Detection of metabolic liver damage using optical analysis of resonance images”, as well as for his internationally renowned research career.

The ceremony was attended by Felipe Benjumea Llorente, President of the Focus-Abengoa Foundation and Chairman of Abengoa; Antonio Ramírez de Arellano, the Chancellor of the University of Seville; Isabel Aguilera Navarro, President of the Social Council, and Anabel Morillo León, Director General of the Foundation.

The jury highlighted Professor of Medicine, Manuel Romero’s, “Scientific and research contribution in aspects related to the wellbeing and health of people through a non-invasive diagnostic system of hepatic pathologies, FibroRM, in order to determine the distribution and correct classification of the level of fibrosis in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, without the need to perform a biopsy”.

It also recognised the extraordinary scientific value of the prize winning work, defining it as, “A work of enormous social interest and a magnificent example of translational research in the field of healthcare”. The scientific basis of the proposed method is excellent, with an extremely extensive and relevant range of application for society and the development of the healthcare system.

Professor Romero is a doctor of medicine at the University of Seville, where he works as a professional in the Hospital Virgen de Valme. He has significant research experience with 86 publications in the last six years, as well as a prestigious national and international career.

In his speech, the Chancellor of the University of Seville, Antonio Ramírez de Arellano, congratulated Professor Romero on winning the Prize and for his extensive research career, saying, “Professor Romero, doctor of medicine, is not only a great researcher, but is also an outstanding endorsement for the implementation of this project, which is of major interest to the world of healthcare. His non-invasive diagnostic system for liver diseases eliminates risk in patients; it facilitates the work of nurses and represents a major saving in time and money in treating these types of diseases”.

Ramírez de Arellano also highlighted the University’s role in the economic recovery, saying, “The role of the University, as a generator of knowledge and a driver of innovation, is essential in the new economic model. The benefits to society and business will be even greater if universities manage to become major centres for specialist research that attract companies, institutions and innovation centres”.

Lastly, the Chancellor also highlighted Abengoa’s role as, “An ideal travelling companion in the field of R&D+i. The company views collaboration with the University as something more than just sponsorship or social responsibility. It treats it as a strategic commitment to generate growth and development, as an investment that is profitable in the medium and long term”.

This Prize, in which the Social Council of the University, the Focus-Abengoa Foundation and the University of Seville all participate, and in which the winner receives 18,000 euros, a diploma and has their work published, is designed to recognise the work carried out by researchers within the university community (doctors, graduates or diploma holders) who participate in research projects that meet the research and development needs of companies and other entities.

The jury consisted of the President of the Social Council, Isabel Aguilera Navarro; the Vice-chancellor of Research, Manuel García León; the Dean of the Faculty of Chemistry, Pilar Malet; José Domínguez Abascal, representing the Focus-Abengoa Foundation; Miguel García Guerrero, winner of the seventh edition of the Benjumea Prize; and Jesús Jiménez, Secretary of the Social Council, acting as secretary of the jury.

The Focus-Abengoa Foundation and the Social Council of the University of Seville decided to promote the Javier Benjumea Puigcerver Research Prize since 2003 in order to continue the memory of this illustrious member of Seville society who was awarded an Honoris Causa Doctorate from the University.

Social Council

The Social Council is the participatory body representing society at the University and is responsible for ensuring that its range of courses and activities are relevant to Andalusian society, among other responsibilities. According to its regulations, the functions of the Council are classified into three areas: economic-financial, which includes powers to approve and fund the university’s budgets, fees and public prices, etc; academic, which encompasses the approval of new qualifications and minimum course requirements for students, among others; and social relations, with functions to promote agreements, sponsorship and the collaboration of society in the financing of the University.

Focus-Abengoa Foundation

The Focus-Abengoa Foundation was created in 1982 as a result of the cultural work begun in 1972 by Abengoa with the publication of the works Temas Sevillanos (Themes of Seville) and Iconografía de Sevilla (Iconography of Seville). A collection of documents, books and engravings on the Kingdom of Seville and by Sevillian authors was created during the same period. This initial cultural work showed Abengoa’s directors the importance of the company’s involvement in activities that directly benefit society, beyond the firm’s core technology work, which led to the creation of the Seville Cultural Fund Foundation. The Hospital de los Venerables, a 17th century monument and the headquarters of the Focus-Abengoa Foundation in Seville, has housed the Diego Velázquez Research Centre, a leading institution for studying and disseminating the Baroque era and the Sevillian period of this universally renowned artist, since the acquisition of Velázquez’s Santa Rufina by the Foundation in 2007. The focus on this crucial era of the Golden Age is complemented with the legacy from Professor Alfonso E. Pérez Sánchez, bequeathed to the Foundation in 2011. It comprises his library, photo library, personal archive and art collection and is being catalogued to help create a library specialising in the art and culture of the Baroque period.

For more information:

Abengoa Communication Department

Patricia Malo de Molina

Tel: +34 954 93 71 11


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