Research Line


The research done by the Bioinfo4Women’s working group has one main objective: to include the sex and gender perspective in the life science department at the BSC. To achieve this goal, the work is organized into mini-projects that allow for short execution times and rapid publications.

Sex and Gender Bias in Technology and Artificial Intelligence

Promoting and demonstrating the critical need for including the Sex and Gender dimension in computational biology and AI research for personalized medicine applications and the general scientific practice


This is perfectly showcased in Cirillo, D., et al (2020) [reference Publication], a Bioinfo4Women-supported study published in Nature Digital Medicine. This study explores the application of artificial intelligence (AI) in the biomedical sector, leading to a better understanding of human diseases and facilitating precision medicine. However, precision medicine poses several challenges, including the responsible use of AI in research and healthcare. Overcoming these challenges requires accounting for differences among individuals such as sex and gender, which reflect clinical characteristics of diseases and drug responses. The article highlights the need for the community in its entirety, including governments and policy makers, to become involved in addressing the ethical issues associated with each stage of the technological development for health


This idea was further developed in the writing of the book Sex and Gender Bias in Technology and Artificial Intelligence: Biomedicine and Healthcare Applications. The text explores the importance of integrating sex and gender as critical factors in the development of innovative technologies, including artificial intelligence, digital medicine, natural language processing, and robotics, for biomedicine and healthcare applications. A multidisciplinary group of international experts conducted a systematic review of scientific literature, providing a perspective overview of the complex relationship between sex and gender, health, and technology. The analysis sheds light on the pressing need for an ethically-informed science that accounts for neglected and overlooked aspects of sex and gender in biomedical research and healthcare solutions. The review also emphasizes the potential of leveraging artificial intelligence, biosensors, and personalized medicine approaches to predict and prevent disease outcomes. The text emphasizes the importance of integrating sex and gender in the development of new technologies to achieve better healthcare outcomes and to ensure that future technologies are ethically informed.

Development of “Sex & Gender Dimension in research projects” Guidelines.

A set of guidelines targeting different levels of audiences (master and PhD students, postdocs and PIs, technicians and software/database engineers) is being written up. The materials generated by expert content creators in the context of the EOSC-Life Training project will be used to further enrich the guidelines.

ELIXIR BioHackathon

For two consecutive years, the B4W Research Working Group has accomplished to participate in the ELIXIR BioHackathon, with a competitively selected project.

BioHackathon 2021

Uncovering biases in two databases

The project aimed at analysing two databases: dbGaP… The work carried out is in current revision, and a preprint is available here: Ruiz-Sierra, et al. (2023)

BioHackathon 2022

Leveraging articles from EuroPMC for uncovering biases in the literature.

This project aimed at analysing the scientific literature to uncover sex imbalance in the published research. The project leveraged the EuroPMC repository to access and mine the context of free-text articles published there.

Ongoing projects

Miscarriage and Depression in Twitter

In collaboration with Women’s Brain Project, WBP and Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, UOC


An analysis of depression in Twitter messages about pregnancy loss was conceived by Davide Cirillo and collaborators in the context of a hackathon organized by the WBP in 2021. The project was carried out in the form of a thesis for the Master’s degree in Data Science of Universitat Oberta Catalunya (UOC), co-supervised by Davide Cirillo, and further expanded and refined by the Social Links Analytics Unit and B4W in 2022.

Assemble a database regarding the topics: Sex & Gender bias in health and AI

In collaboration with the BSC Project Management Office (PMO), specifically the documentalist Katia Pistrin, B4W is creating a software to mine bibliographic resources, namely Google Scholar, by querying specific keywords. The tool will be used to access and share high-quality literature focusing on specific topic of interest, such as sex differences in health and disease, as well as to assess the level of sex and gender bias in the algorithm for content ranking that is used by Google Scholar.




Check out our youtube playlist with all recorded seminars.

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