Launched: VHIO’s Scientific Report 2020. A year of challenges, opportunities and hope


2020 was a year of darkness as the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked its havoc globally. In its waves, it ravaged human lives, paralyzed society, and took away hard-worn freedoms. But, this terrible virus also shone a light on the staggering ability of medical science to identify and combat a major new threat to public health globally.

At incredible speed, researchers around the world worked tirelessly together to successfully develop COVID-19 vaccines. These breakthrough moments translated into opportunities and hope. As highlighted in his Foreword to VHIO’s 2020 Scientific Report, our Director, Josep Tabernero, points to just some of the many lessons here that could be applied to other diseases including cancer in order to accelerate progress and accelerate improved clinical outcomes for countless patients worldwide.

Shaped by these reflections, the theme of this year’s report — VHIO in 2020: a year of challenges, opportunities and hope — captures our experiences, endeavors, and collective spirit. To mark this challenging year, we invited our Group and Unit leaders to reflect on 2020, and come up with a noun, adjective, concept, or priority area, which they each considered as particularly relevant — though not exclusive — to this momentous past year. Written on each of their respective masks, the design depicts the very familiar Zoom virtual meeting scenario, which is so symbolic of the COVID-19 era.


2020 in one word for VHIO’s Director, Josep Tabernero: “determination”


To view the complete collage, please visit our Scientific Report 2020 – see below. Select the top, horizontal menu tab: VHIO IN 2020: A YEAR OF CHALLENGES, OPPORTUNITIES AND HOPE.

Additionally, due to the safety and logistical considerations brought about by COVID-19, and to reflect the reality of balancing those physically working in the lab and clinical settings with those working from home, we revisited our approach to this year’s report’s photo shoot. We translated this obstacle into opportunity.

With the exception of our larger groups, we sought to include as many group members as possible without masks. Each photo was taken individually, at a distance, in locations away from areas dedicated to the care of our cancer patients. We also welcomed faculty who were working at home during each photo session, inviting them to send their photos from home.

Illustrated by the many research highlights and developments chaptered in our Scientific Report, while 2020 was a year unlike any other, our teams and talents continued to transform the many challenges in cancer science and clinical oncology into opportunities for those who matter most; our cancer patients. They did so in collaboration by working in partnership with many other researchers and clinical investigators across the world.

Scientific Report 2020:  a handful of highlights

As well as browsing our various programs and group pages, with new additions this year including our Institutional Programs, and VHIO Task Forces, we also invite you to read the following featured sections:

  • Josep Tabernero’s Foreword – including his hand-pick of VHIO studies and developments:

2020: An Extraordinary Year for Biomedicine, Cancer Science and Clinical Oncology.

  • Josep Tabernero’s personal tribute to José Baselga, MD, PhD: In Memoriam (1959-2021), which leads off this year’s report.
  • VHIO in 2020. A year of challenges, opportunities and hope, and sub-chapter:

VHIO’s Translational toward Precision Oncology: A little more on how we did it in 2020.

Our 2020 Scientific Report is now available in the following formats:

In print: to request your personal copy of the ‘light’ version in print please contact Amanda Wren, Head of the Director’s Office and Global Communications, via email:

To access the downloadable PDF, as well as our extended and mobile friendly version online, visit:

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