BioCenit Research Lab.
Bioinformatics, biostatistics and
environmental chemistry & engineering


Innovation is disruptive, can come from anywhere and is collaborative

Francesc Giralt 

BioCenit Research Lab
Departament d'Enginyeria Química
Universitat Rovira i Virgili
Av. Països Catalans 26
43007 Tarragona, Catalunya


Tel: +34 977 558 458


Interest and Background

  • My research interests have shifted over the years, but always keeping an accent on complex and non-linear systems. Topics have become more interdisciplinary over time, involving chemistry, engineering, applied mathematics, physics, computer science and the application of sociotechnical systems approaches to city transformations. As a result, I am currently involved in modelling complexity from the nanoscopic and microscopic scales where engineered nanomaterials interact with biological systems to the macroscopic urban ecosystems where complex adaptive human behaviors emerge.

    The first nanoinformatics subject is carried out at the BioCenit Research Lab, University Rovira i Virgili. It aims at establishing techniques for modeling the interaction of nanoparticles with biological systems (biochemical pathways and biomolecular signatures) with a systems biology approach. The assessment of the impact of chemicals on human health and ecosystems is a complementary research topic.

    The second main area of activity about complex adaptive human behavior in cities is carried out at the City Protocol Society, an International California Non-Profit Corporation, multi-city, multi-partner, multi-cultural and scale-free that promotes, guides, and accelerates the responsible transformation of cities with cities, commercial organizations, academic and research institutions, and non-profit organizations working and learning together. My interest stems from the evidence that a Science of Cities in needed since Cities are a key hub to understand the complex network of human relationships (social, economic and political) that evolve under the accelerated impact of information and communication technologies. Cities are becoming a system of cities (i.e., the Internet of Cities) in a shared environment that must learn and innovate together, in collaboration with all stakeholders involved.

    The above research activities have always had an innovation component (i.e., being disruptive, open to all and collaborative) fueled by an innate curiosity about the technology market and the potential commercial value of ideas. As a result the following projects and results have been respectively managed and obtained:


  • Projects and contracts: 152 R&D+i projects funded by industry, 43 research projects funded by Research Agencies, and 67 consulting jobs

    Master and Doctoral Thesis: Supervision of 23 Master theses and 34 Doctoral/Ph.D. theses

    Conference Presentations: 254 papers presented at scientific meetings, 19 as invited keynote lectures

    Scientific Publications: 150 archival papers published I top scientific and education journals

    Innovation and entrepreneurship: 2 spin-off companies, 1 invention and 1 patent




  • Distinguished and Emeritus Professor at URV

  • Director of Society Affairs, City Protocol Society

  • Distinguished Researcher of the Generalitat de Catalunya

  • Researcher at the BioCenit Research Lab (URV)

  • Researcher at the Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (CEIN; UCLA)

  • Member of the Innovation Center Centre ATIC, Network TECNIO of CIDEM (Generalitat de Catalunya)

  • Member of AIChE, ASME, APS and ASEE



  • Enginyer Químic Diplomat (BEng/MEng), Institut Químic de Sarrià (1970)

  • Llicenciat en Ciències Químiques (BChem/MChem), Universitat de Barcelona (1976)

  • Master of Applied Science(MASc), Universitat de Toronto (1973)

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Universitat de Toronto (1976)

  • Doctor en Ciències Químiques (ScD), Universitat de Barcelona (1977)

  • Diplomat en Direcció i Gestió d'Empreses (MBA), ICT - Barcelona (1991)

Research Topics
  • Innovation and strategy management for nonprofits

  • Experimental and computational environmental engineering & chemistry

  • Nanoinformatics


  • Environmental/Ecological risk assessment

  • Non-linear dynamics, pattern recognition and classification in complex systems

  • Phisics of fluids and turbulent flows

  • Experimental and computational transport phenomena

  • Cooperative education

  • Mountaineering & MTB

  • Photography

  • Yoga Iyengar, Yoga in the Iyengar Tradition

  •  Cohen Y; Christofides PD; Giralt-Prat F.
    Advanced Monitoring, Optimization and Control of Membrane Desalination Processes
    UC CASE NO. 2009-079. USA.

  •  Roberto Coll Frances , Francesc Giralt , José Luis Peña Díez
    Bases lubricantes sintéticas por oligomerización de alfaolefinas con catalizadores metalocenos
    Spain Patent P200700763 • Issued March 22, 2007.

Selected Archival Publications
  •  Eom H-J; Roca CP; Roh J-Y; Chatterjee N; Jeong J-S; Shim I; Kim H-M; Kim P-J ; Choi K; Giralt F; Choi J (2015)
    A systems toxicology approach on the mechanism of uptake and toxicity of MWCNT in Caenorhabditis elegans
    Chemico-Biological Interactions. 239: 153-163.

  •  Fernández A; Giralt F; Rallo R (2015)
    Prioritization of in silico Models and Molecular Descriptors for the Assessment of Ready Biodegradability
    Environmental Research. 142: 161-168.

  •  Kamath P; Fernández A; Giralt F; Rallo R (2015)
    Predicting Cell Association of Surface-Modified Nanoparticles using Protein Corona Structure – Activity Relationships (PCSAR)
    Current Topics in Medicinal Chemistry. 15(18): 1930-1937..

  •  Nendza M; Gabbert S; Kühne R; Lombardo A; Roncaglioni A; Benfenati E; Benigni R; Bossa C; Strempel S; Scheringer M; Fernández A; Rallo R; Giralt F; Dimitrov S; Mekenyan O; Bringezu F; Schüürmann G (2013)
    A comparative survey of chemistry-driven in silico methods to identify hazardous substances under REACH
    Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology. 66(3): 301-314.

  •  Barrera-Ventura C; Salvatierra D; Giralt F; Giralt J (2013)
    Hydrolysis of Imidazole and 2-Chloropyridine under Subcritical and Supercritical Water Conditions
    Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering. 91(6): 1131–1139.

  •  Strebel K; Espinosa G; Giralt F; Kindler A; Rallo R; Richter M; Schlink U (2013)
    Modeling airborne benzene in space and time with Self-Organizing Maps and Bayesian techniques
    Environment International. 41: 151-162.

  •  Fernández A; Lombardo A; Rallo R; Roncaglioni A; Giralt F; Benfenati E (2012)
    Quantitative consensus of bioaccumulation models for integrated testing strategies
    Environment International. 45: 51-58.

  •  Gavalda X; Ferrer-Gener J; Kopp GA; Giralt F (2011)
    Interpolation of Pressure Coefficients for Low-Rise Buildings of Different Plan Dimensions and Roof Slopes using Artificial Neural Networks
    Journal of Wind Engineering & Industrial Aerodynamics. 99: 658-664.

  •  Rallo R; France B; Liu R; Nair S; Bradley K; Damoiseaux R; George S; Nel AE; Giralt F; Cohen Y (2011)
    Analysis of Metal and Metal Oxide Nanoparticles Toxicity-related Cell Signaling Pathways via Self-Organizing Maps
    Environmental Science & Technology. 45: 1695–1702.

  •  Puigjaner D; Herrero J; Simó C; Giralt F (2011)
    From steady solutions to chaotic flows in a Rayleigh–Bénard problem at moderate Rayleigh numbers
    Physica D. 240: 920-934.

  •  Martínez I; Grifoll J; Giralt F; Rallo R (2010)
    Multimedia environmental chemical partitioning from molecular information
    Science of the Total Environment. 409: 412–422.

  •  Nendza M; Aldenberg T; Benfenati E; Benigni R; Cronin M; Escher S; Fernandez A; Gabbert S; Giralt F; et al. (2010)
    Data quality assessment for in silico methods: A survey of approaches and needs
    In: Cronin M, Madden J (eds): In Silico Toxicology. Principles and Applications, RSC Publishing, Cambridge, UK, 2010. [ISBN: 978-1849730044].

  •  Sorensen P.B; Giralt F; Rallo R; Espinosa G; Münier B; Gyldenkaerne S; Thomsen M (2010)
    Conscious worst case definition for risk assessment, part II: A methodological case study for pesticide risk assessment
    Science of the Total Environment. 408: 3860-3870.

  •  Mandava VSR; Kopp GA; Herrero J; Giralt F (2010)
    Experimental Investigation of the Wake of a Discontinuous Cylinder
    ASME 3rd Joint US-European Fluids Engineering Summer Meeting, ASME Press, Paper No. 30498.

  •  Simo C; Puigjaner D; Herrero J; Giralt F (2010)
    Dynamics of particle trajectories in a Rayleigh-Bénard problem
    Communications in Nonlinear Science & Numerical Simulation. 15: 24-39.

  •  Herrero J; Giralt F; Puigjaner D; Simo C (2009)
    Mixing by thermal convection in a biochemical reactor
    In: Botchorishvili R; Davitashvili T; Sirbiladze G; Sikharulidze A. (eds): Finite Differences, Finite Elements, Finite Volumes, Boundary Elements, WSEAS Press, Athens, Greece, pp. 45-50. [SBN: 978-960-474-089-5; INSPEC: 10798736].

  •  Fernandez A, Rallo R; Giralt F (2009)
    Uncertainty Reduction in Environmental Data with Conflicting Information Membrane Module
    Environmental Science & Technology. 43(13): 5001-5006.

  •  Lyster E; Au J; Rallo R; Giralt F; Cohen Y (2009)
    Coupled 3-D Hydrodynamics and Mass Transfer Analysis of Mineral Scaling-Induced Flux Decline in a Laboratory Plate-and-Frame. Reverse Osmosis Membrane Module
    Journal of Membrane Science. 339: 39-48.

  •  Gavalda X; Ferrer-Gener J; Kopp GA; Giralt F; Galsworthy J (2009)
    Simulating Pressure Coefficients on a Circular Cylinder at Re = 1,000,000 by Cognitive Classifiers
    Computers and Structures. 87: 838-846.

  •  Libotean D; Giralt J; Giralt F. Rallo R; Wolfe T; Cohen Y (2009)
    Neural Network Approach for Modeling the Performance of Reverse Osmosis Membrane Desalting
    Journal of Membrane Science. 326: 408-419.

  •  Al-Shannag M; Al-Qodah Z; Herrero J; Humphrey JAC; Giralt F (2008)
    Using a wall-driven flow to reduce the external mass-transfer resistance of a bio-reaction system
    Biochemical Engineering Journal. 39: 554–565.

  •  Puigjaner D; Herrero J; Simo C; Giralt F (2008)
    Bifurcation analysis of steady Rayleigh–Bénard convection in a cubical cavity with conducting sidewalls
    Journal of Fluid Mechanics. 598: 393-427.

  •  Libotean D; Giralt J; Rallo R; Cohen Y; Giralt F; Ridgway H.F; Rodriguez G; Phipps D (2008)
    Organic Compounds Passage through RO Membranes
    Journal of Membrane Science. 313: 23-43.

  •  Valencia C; Espinosa G, Giralt J; Giralt F (2007)
    Optimization of invertase production in a fed-batch bioreactor using simulation based dynamic programming coupled with a neural classifier
    Computers & Chemical Engineering. 31: 1131-1140.

  •  Guimera R; Danon L; Diaz-Guilera A; Giralt F; Arenas A (2006)
    The real communication network behind the formal chart: Community structure in organizations
    Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization. 61: 653-657.

  •  Puigjaner D; Herrero J; Giralt F; Simo C (2006)
    Bifurcation analysis of multiple steady flow patterns for Rayleigh–Bénard convection in a cubical cavity at Pr = 130
    Physical Review E. 73(4): 046304/1-16.

  •  Witt JH; Alabart JR; Giralt F; Herrero J; Vernis Ll; Medir M (2006)
    A Competency-Based Educational Model in a Chemical Engineering School
    International Journal of Engineering Education. 22(2): 218-235.

  •  Alabart JR; Herrero J; Brull E; Giralt F; Mackie AD (2005)
    Work in Progress - Evaluation of the Educational Model and its Deployment by Senior Students
    Proceedings of the 35th ASEE/IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference, Indianapolis. F3E, 5-6 (ISBN 0-7803-9077-6).

  •  Alabart JR; Godlewska A; Herrero J; Giralt F; Medir M (2005)
    Work in Progress - Assessment of the Development of Personal and Social Competencies by Students
    Proceedings of the 35th ASEE/IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference, Indianapolis. F3E, 3-4 (ISBN 0-7803-9077-6).

  •  Rallo R; Espinosa G; Giralt F (2005)
    Prediction of Modes of Toxic Action and toxicity of phenols with feature selection algorithms coupled with fuzzy ARTMAP
    Proceedings of the Joint Meeting on Medicinal Chemistry, Vienna, Eds. P. Ettmayer and G. Ecker, Medimont SRL, F620C0176, 27-33 (ISBN 88-7587-163-9).

  •  Rallo R; Espinosa G; Giralt F (2005)
    Using an ensemble of neural based QSARs for the prediction of toxicological properties of chemical contaminants
    Trans IChemE Part B. Process Safety and Environmental Protection. 83(B4): 387-392.

  •  Puigjaner D; Herrero J; Simo C; Giralt F (2004)
    Stability analysis of the flow in a cubical cavity heated from below
    Physics of Fluids. 16(10): 3639-3655.

  •  Espinosa G; Arenas A; Giralt F; Amat L; Girones X; Carbo-Dorca R (2004)
    Fuzzy ARTMAP based QSAR for TD50 of Aromatic Compounds, Proceedings of the V Girona Seminar on Molecular Similarity, Sen, K; Ed.; Nova Science Publishers, Inc; New York, 2004.

  •  Giralt F; Espinosa G; Arenas A; Amat L; Girones X; Carbo-Dorca R; Cohen Y (2004)
    Prediction of activity coefficients of diverse aromatic compounds in water at infinite dilution with an integrated SOM-fuzzy ARTMAP neural system
    AIChE Journal. 50(6): 1315-1343.