“We have a technological revolution. Now we need a scientific revolution.”

Galarraga Aiestaran, Ana

Elhuyar Zientzia

Arturo Muga Villate, vice-rector of Scientific Development and Transfer (Bilbao, 1961), and Technology of the UPV/EHU (Bilbao, 1961), has been trapped on the 50th anniversary of its foundation. He has recognized his “pride” and has given reasons for this: the faculty degrees have the highest minimum grades of the entire university; in 50 years they have been 18,000 graduate students and 2,000 doctors; and the research that is carried out is magnificent and internationally recognized. However, to answer the questions, he has looked inside rather than at the faculty.
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What has surprised, altered or fascinated you the most since you started working?

Sequences of the human genome, but also of other species, which has meant a very interesting evolution at the molecular level. The human genome opens many doors, such as conducting molecular diagnoses or knowledge of mutations associated with certain proteins. In short, it will allow us to advance in the direction of personalized medicine.

This is associated with advances in genetic editing techniques. They need to be sure, but I have no doubt that this will come. That is, we will be able to correct the errors of the genome without other changes.

Of course, many diseases do not have a single agent, that is, they have more than one target. But, despite its complexity, we have begun to be molecular tools to understand pathologies well and develop appropriate treatments.

What would you like to witness the revolution or the discovery in your career?

For me, the greatest achievement would be to integrate all the information. At present we are fascinated by the new techniques that give us terrible information: molecular biology, new materials… But we need to integrate all that information. This is an interdisciplinary work that will bring news.

Somehow, it is more of a technological revolution than a scientific one. And to be a scientific revolution, experts from all disciplines must come together without haste, not to do anything, but to think. It is true that we want results, but we have to overcome it to reach another level. For example, to make new and powerful pharmaceuticals accessible to the general public. The same for materials, energy, food production… to be sustainable. This will come from integration and there are already examples like the Brain project.

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