SANT JORDI Advance(CAT)'s Science Books Recommendation

April 23, 2018

Today 23rd of April, it is St George’s Day, or Sant Jordi as know it in Catalonia, an event full of traditions. Books and roses are given to our loved ones: familiars, partners and friends.


Advance(CAT) also wants to celebrate this festivity so we offer a list of 10 books that some partners of the project have recommended to people who are interested in this fields. All books in some way are related to our project. Are you interested? Take a look!





1. BROOKS, Michael. Free Radicals: The Secret Anarchy of Science. Profile Books Ltd., 2011


For more than a century, science has cultivated a sober public image for itself. But as bestselling author Michael Brooks explains, the truth is very different: many of our most successful scientists have more in common with libertines than librarians.

This thrilling exploration of some of the greates breakthroughs in science reveals the extreme lengths some scientists go ti in order to make their theories public. Fraud, suppressing evidence and unethical or reckless PR games are sometimes necessary to bring the best and most brilliant discoveries to the world's attention. Inspiration can come from the most unorthox of places, and Brooks introduces us to Nobel laureates who get their ideas through drugs, dreams and hallucinations. Science is a highly competitive and ruthless discipline, and only its most determined and passionate prectitioners make headlines - and history. To succeed, knowledge must be pursued by any means: in science, anything goes.

ISBN: 1846684056



2. FEYNMAN, Richard. Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!: Adventures of a Curious Character. W.W. Norton & Company, 1997.


If Richard Feynman was one of your family members, he would definitely be the crazy, fun, and beloved uncle. His fascinating personality, curiosity for the world, and love for physics pour through the pages of his autobiography. Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! turns the image of a typical scientist upside down with Feynman’s off-the-cuff observations and a sense of wonder for the world that would make even a five year old boy jealous. His stories about learning how to become a safecracker or landing a gig on a Brazilian samba band shows us how life is full of possibilities and to live it with curiosity, energy, and persistence every single day.

ISBN: 0393316041







3. GARIPCAN, Bora; TIWARI, Ashutosh; UZUN, Lokman. Advanced Surfaces for Cell Research. Scrivener Publishing LLC, 2016.


The book outlines first the importance of Extra Cellular Matrix (ECM), which is a natural surface for most of cells. The influence of biological, chemical, mechanical, and physical properties of surfaces in micro and nano-scale on stem cell behavior are discussed including the mechanotransduction. Biomimetic and bioinspired approaches are highlighted for developing microenvironment of several tissues, and surface engineering applications are discussed in tissue engineering, regenerative medicine and different type of biomaterials in various chapters of the book. This book brings together innovative methodologies and strategies adopted in the research and development of Advanced Surfaces in Stem Cell Research. Well-known worldwide researchers deliberate subjects including: Extracellular matrix proteins for stem cell fate The superficial mechanical and physical properties of matrix microenvironment as stem cell fate regulator Effects of mechanotransduction on stem cell behavior Modulation of stem cells behavior through bioactive surfaces Influence of controlled micro and nanoengineered surfaces on stem cell fate Nanostructured polymeric surfaces for stem cells Laser surface modification techniques and stem cells applications Plasma polymer deposition: a versatile tool for stem cell research Application of bioreactor concept and modeling techniques in bone regeneration and augmentation treatments Substrates and surfaces for control of pluripotent stem cell fate and function Application of biopolymer-based, surface modified devices in transplant medicine and tissue engineering Silk as a natural biopolymer for tissue engineering

ISBN: 1119242509


We'd like to point out that the authors of the chapter "INFLUENCE OF CONTROLLED MICRO- AND NANOENGINEERED ENVIRONMENTS ON STEM CELL FATE" are members of this Consortium. Thanks to ANNA LAGUNAS, DAVID CABALLERO AND JOSEP SAMITIER for this priceless recommendation.



4. GORNER, Peter; LYON, Jeff. Altered Fates: The Genetic Re-engineering of Human Life. W.W. Norton & Company, 1996.


​​​Seven years in the making, Altered Fates chronicles the saga of gene therapy, a medical revolution unparalleled in human history.


In the pages of this rich and detailed narrative, whose characters include the field's leading scientists as well as key patients and their families, the Pulitzer Prize-winning authors tell the story of the race to be the first to do gene therapy (a feat almost certain to garner a Nobel Prize and a place in medical history), uncovering the behind-the-scenes machinations and rivalries among the prima-donna researchers at some of the world's leading medical centers, including the National Institutes of Health. They also reveal the details of the initial human experiments in gene transfer and the agonizing decisions faced by the families of the first children to be submitted to the therapy.

ISBN: 0393315282




5. HAWKING, Stephen. A brief history of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes. Bantam Books, 1998.


Was there a beginning of time? Could time run backwards? Is the universe infinite or does it have boundaries?


These are just some of the questions considered in the internationally acclaimed masterpiece by the world renowned physicist - generally considered to have been one of the world's greatest thinkers. It begins by reviewing the great theories of the cosmos from Newton to Einstein, before delving into the secrets which still lie at the heart of space and time, from the Big Bang to black holes, via spiral galaxies and strong theory.


To this day A Brief History of Time remains a staple of the scientific canon, and its succinct and clear language continues to introduce millions to the universe and its wonders.


This new edition includes recent updates from Stephen Hawking with his latest thoughts about the No Boundary Proposal and offers new information about dark energy, the information paradox, eternal inflation, the microwave background radiation observations, and the discovery of gravitational waves.

ISBN: 0553380168


6. SIDDHARTA, Mukherjee. The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer. Scribner Macmillan, 2010.


The story of cancer is a story of human ingenuity, resilience, and perseverance, but also of hubris, paternalism, and misperception. Mukherjee recounts centuries of discoveries, setbacks, victories, and deaths, told through the eyes of his predecessors and peers, training their wits against an infinitely resourceful adversary that, just three decades ago, was thought to be easily vanquished in an all-out “war against cancer.” 

The book reads like a literary thriller with cancer as the protagonist. From the Persian Queen Atossa, whose Greek slave cut off her malignant breast, to the nineteenth-century recipients of primitive radiation and chemotherapy to Mukherjee’s own leukemia patient, Carla, The Emperor of All Maladies is about the people who have soldiered through fiercely demanding regimens in order to survive—and to increase our understanding of this iconic disease. 
ISBN: 1439107955




7. SIDDHARTA, Mukherjee. The gene: An intimate History. Scribner Macmillan, 2016.


Siddhartha Mukherjee has a written a biography of the gene as deft, brilliant, and illuminating as his extraordinarily successful biography of cancer. Weaving science, social history, and personal narrative to tell us the story of one of the most important conceptual breakthroughs of modern times, Mukherjee animates the quest to understand human heredity and its surprising influence on our lives, personalities, identities, fates, and choices.

Throughout the narrative, the story of Mukherjee’s own family—with its tragic and bewildering history of mental illness—cuts like a bright, red line, reminding us of the many questions that hang over our ability to translate the science of genetics from the laboratory to the real world. In superb prose and with an instinct for the dramatic scene, he describes the centuries of research and experimentation—from Aristotle and Pythagoras to Mendel and Darwin, from Boveri and Morgan to Crick, Watson and Franklin, all the way through the revolutionary twenty-first century innovators who mapped the human genome.

ISBN: 1476733503




8. SKLOOT, Rebecca. The immortal life of Henrietta Lacks. Crown Publishing Group, 2010.


Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells—taken without her knowledge in 1951—became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, and more. Henrietta's cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can't afford health insurance. This phenomenal New York Times bestseller tells a riveting story of the collision between ethics, race, and medicine; of scientific discovery and faith healing; and of a daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew.

ISBN: 14000552173







9. SLACK, J.M.W. Egg & Ego: An almost True Story of Life in the Biology Lab. United States: Springer-Verlag New York Inc., 1999.


A light-hearted look at the nature of academic science, intended for anyone interested in biology but particularly for biology students who want to find out what the future holds in store. The "Egg" of the title refers to the science of developmental biology, which is the speciality of the author, and which provides the material for many of the anecdotes. The "Ego" relates to the vanity of the scientists themselves. Academic scientists have to struggle to maintain their research funding. To do this they must persuade other scientists that they are very good, and that means working at a good institution, publishing papers in the most fashionable journals and giving lectures at the most prestigious meetings. Success often goes to those with the largest egos and it is their style of operation that is described in this book. The author is a well-known scientist who has worked at both universities and research institutes. He has published over 100 scientific papers and an influential book about embryonic development: "From Egg to Embryo".

ISBN: 0387985603




10. WATSON, James D. La doble hélice: relato personal del descubrimiento de la estructura del ADN. Alianza Editorial, 2011.


The change from the twentieth to the twenty-first century will be forever linked to the definitive deciphering of the human genetic map, a fact that opens a new world in the field of science and, especially, in the field of medicine. How, however, did the basic discovery of the structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), essential component of the genetic material that has made it possible to reach this point? The double helix is the story of the process that led to this crucial moment, made firsthand by James D. Watson, star of it in 1953 along with the British Francis Crick. As Steve Jones points out in the preface to the volume, "reading this book is understanding how it must have been to participate in what Watson, with overwhelming sincerity, calls the most famous event in biology since the book of Darwin."

ISBN: 8420635707











Thanks to partners who have participated in this activity:

Anna Lagunas - Senior Researcher at Institute of Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC)

Joaquim Vives - Cell Theraphy Service at Banc de Sang i Teixits (BST)

Jordi Barquinero - Group Leader, Gene & Cell Therapy Laboratory at Vall d'Hebron - Institut de Recerca

Oriol Iborra - PhD Researcher at Institut d'Investigació Germans Trias i Pujol

Santiago Roura - PhD Researcher at Fundació d'Investigació en Ciències de la Salut Germans Trias i Pujol

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This work has been developed in the context of AdvanceCat with the support of ACCIÓ (Catalonia Trade & Investment; Generalitat de Catalunya) under the Catalonian ERDF operational program (European Regional Development Fund) 2014-2020.