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The Basque Country strengthens its leadership in brain research

2024 May 22
  • The Basque Centre on Cognition, Brain and Language (BCBL), a basic research centre of excellence affiliated to the Basque Government's Department of Education, has new magnetoencephalography equipment following an investment of 2 million euros.
  • The large Basque scientific infrastructure located at BCBL is the most advanced of its kind in Southern Europe and one of the most advanced in the world.
  • The state-of-the-art machine will allow the centre to record neuronal activity with exceptional resolution and advance the study of the mechanisms involved in linguistic processes.

The Basque Country reinforces its position at the forefront of brain research. BCBL, Basque Centre on Cognition, Brain and Language, affiliated to the Department of Education, has a new magnetoencephalography (MEG) equipment with an investment of 2 million euros financed by the Basque Government. Located at BCBL's facilities in the Miramón Technology Park, the new state-of-the-art infrastructure consolidates the capacity of its laboratories in the international neuroscientific field and will allow the recording of the neuronal activity of the participants in its studies with exceptional temporal and spatial resolution, improving the performance of the previous equipment.

This morning, accompanied by the BCBL team, the Minister of Education was able to find out about the features of the new equipment. Adolfo Morais, Deputy Regional Minister for Universities and Research, and Amaia Esquisabel, Director of Research, also took part in the visit. During the presentation, the scientific team highlighted the possibilities offered by the new acquisition.

The specific aim of the centre's activity is to unravel the neurocognitive mechanisms involved in language acquisition, comprehension and production, with a special emphasis on bilingualism and multilingualism. The new MEG device presents auditory and visual stimuli, while measuring the brain activity of the participant, sitting or lying down, through 306 sensors.

In the words of Nicola Molinaro, BCBL researcher: "It is a non-invasive technological method that picks up the magnetic fields produced by the electrical currents that neurons create when they communicate with each other. This information indicates which part of the brain activates at what moment, which is fundamental for the understanding of how our linguistic abilities are implemented, as well as the relationships between brain structures and their functions".

The minister Jokin Bildarratz emphasised the commitment to the pursuit of excellence in research and training with equipment such as those visited today, which will facilitate the transfer of knowledge. He outlined the importance of unravelling the neurocognitive mechanisms involved in language acquisition and processing and congratulated the BCBL team for reaching new heights, breaking new ground. During his speech he also highlighted the significant work being carried out on a daily basis by the nine BERCS - Basic and Excellence Research Centres - as the spearhead of basic science in the Basque Country.

State-of-the-art facilities

In total, the BCBL BERC centre of basic research and research of excellence , with the support of the Basque Government, has invested 2 million euros in this innovative machine that renews the capacity of its laboratories to respond to the challenges of neuroscience.

The MEG will thus join the state-of-the-art neuroscientific research facilities at the centre in Donostia-San Sebastián, which include a magnetic resonance scanner, eight soundproof booths for carrying out behavioural experiments, an eye tracking system for ocular analysis, the Babylab baby study room and four electroencephalography systems.

About BCBL

The Basque Centre on Cognition, Brain and Language is an international interdisciplinary research centre based in Donostia-San Sebastian for the study of cognition, brain and language. It is sponsored by the Basque Government with the aim of promoting science and research in the Basque Country. Its other partners also include Ikerbasque, Innobasque, the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa and the University of the Basque Country/Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea (UPV/EHU).


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Politicians attending the event