Research Program. Precision Nutrition and
Epigenetics of Lipid Metabolism Group
Group leader: Dr. Alberto Dávalos Herrera
Objectives: cardiometabolic diseases are the main causes of mortality in the world and excess in the diet is one of the main causes of these human diseases linked to our modern life-style. The objective is to understand how different non-coding RNAs regulate lipid metabolism during states of health and disease, developing new strategies, both pharmacological and dietetic, to modulate their function. Pharmacological or dietary modulation of the activity of non-coding RNAs that, ultimately, regulate the metabolism of lipids lead to the prevention or treatment of cardiometabolic diseases. The increasing prevalence of chronic diseases has prompted a strategic focus on prevention strategies. While Precision (personalized) Medicine strives to provide ‘the right therapeutic strategy for the right person at the right time’ a distinct approach is needed for disease prevention.
Epigenetics of Lipid Metabolism Group also focus on understanding lifestyle modification of the pigenome in order to try to personalize the health of individuals using epigenetics for the development of Precision Nutrition. This group works to generate new basic knowledge of how non-coding RNAs regulate the metabolism of lipids under physiological and pathological conditions. To find and evaluate minor dietary components for their ability to modulate the activity of non-coding RNAs associated with the metabolism of lipids.
To carry out collaborative projects with the food and pharmaceutical industry to test and develop new dietary supplements or functional foods based on solid scientific knowledge to prevent or treat a variety of lipid metabolism disorders. And, to incorporate the use non-coding RNAs data to develop Precision Nutrition. In this endeavor, the group actively collaborate with many international research groups located at the following institutions: CINVESTAV (Mérida, Mexico), URFJ (Rio de Janeiro, Brasil), IMSERM UMR1011 (Lille, France) and many other national research groups.
Dr. Alberto Dávalos Herrera
Group leader of the Epigenetics of Lipid Metabolism Group
Dr. Alberto Dávalos holds a degree in Pharmacy and Biochemistry by San Marcos University (Lima) and a PhD in Pharmacy by Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Madrid). He has conducted postdoctoral research at the Hospital Ramón y Cajal (Madrid), at Yale University School of Medicine, (New Haven), and at New York University School of Medicine (New York). Dr. Dávalos’s research program focuses in identifying and characterizing new noncoding RNAs (miRNAs, lncRNAs and other type of regulatory RNAs) that regulate lipid metabolism and the effects of minor dietary components (micronutrients) on their expression.
Noncoding RNAs have been recognized as critical modulators of cardiovascular system in health and disease. He hopes to: (i) identify new therapeutic strategies through modulating noncoding RNAs levels by the diet or other lifestyle factors to treat dyslipidemia and to prevent atherosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases; and (ii) understand lifestyle modification of the epigenome and personalize the health of individuals using epigenetics (particularly noncoding RNAs) for the development of Precision Nutrition.
Phone: +34 91 727 81 00, ext. 206
Dr. María Jesús Latasa Sada
Dr. María Jesús Latasa holds a Pharmacy degree by the University of Navarra and a Ph.D. in Pharmacy, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology section, by the University of Alcalá. Throughout all her professional career, her research field has always been the regulation of gene expression on different tissues and systems, as well as in diverse physiopathological conditions. Thus, her work covers several topics, going from the regulation by various hormones and growth factors of the APP gene, implicated in Alzheimer’s disease (IIBM-CSIC-Spain),
to gene expression regulation during nervous system development by epigenetic factors (IC and IIBMCSIC- Spain), and research on the effect of the nutritional state on the regulation of FAS, the central enzyme in lipid synthesis (UCBerkeley- USA). At this moment her scientific interests focus on the effect of diet on the regulation of microRNA and other non-coding RNAs expression. Recently, she has been as well involved in R&D Management activities within the EIT Food.
Phone: +34 91 727 81 00 , ext. 205
Dr. Almudena García-Ruiz
Dr. Almudena García-Ruiz holds a Biology degree and a Food Science and Technology degree by University of Seville and University of Cordoba, respectively. She received her PhD in Food Science and Technology and Chemical Engineering from Autonomous University of Madrid.
Her pre-doctoral research was focused on the study of the effect of polyphenols on the growth and metabolism of oenological lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and its potential application as antimicrobial additives in oenology. In addition, during this period she has also worked in the production of biogenic amines by LAB and in the degradation of biogenic amines by vineyard ecosystem fungi and LAB.
During her post-doctoral period, first, she evaluated of probiotic and immunomodulatory activity of enological lactic acid bacteria and new silver nanoparticle with antimicrobial capacity, application in the wine industry. Then, her research was focused on obtaining functional ingredients from quinoa, and fruits native Ecuador as well as on the analysis of phenolic fraction and antioxidant activity of new varieties of Ecuadorian cocoa.
Currently, she is working in IMDEA Food Institute (Epigenetics of Lipid Metabolism Group) evaluating the potential of "small open reading frames (smORF)" as new modulators of disorders of dietary excess, focusing mainly on those that influence lipid metabolism.
Tlf. + 34 91 727 81 00 Ext: 308
Dr. M. Carmen López de las Hazas
Dr. M. Carmen López de las Hazas studied Human Nutrition and Dietetics, and Food Science and Technology in Autonomous University of Madrid. She obtained her Master Degree in Agricultural Chemistry and Novel Foods in Autonomous University of Madrid. Her PhD (international mention) has been obtained in the University of Lleida.
Her research career starts in CIAL institute (2010-2013), focus on the extraction, characterization and evaluation of the biological properties of bioactive compounds of different food matrices. In 2013, she joined the group of Dr. María José Motilva at the University of Lleida where she gained expertise in the in vivo metabolism of olive oil phenolic compounds and their tissue disposition. Also, she studied the cardioprotective bioactivity of hydroxytyrosol and their metabolites using in vitro and in vivo models. Furthermore, she studied the colonic metabolism of different phenolic compounds structures and evaluate their anticarcinogenic activity in colonic cells.
Nowadays, she is working in IMDEA Food Institute (Epigenetics of Lipid Metabolism Group) evaluating the microRNAs and long non-coding RNAs involved in postprandial lipemia and their relationship in the lipid metabolism.
Her scientific activity is being reflected in a total of 14 research publications, being 6 of them as first author. Furthermore, her research work has been published in 3 international congress and has been worked in 3 research projects.
Phone: +34 91 727 81 00 Ext: 306
Judit Gil Zamorano
Judit Gil Zamorano has a degree in Biotechnology from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (2011). In 2012 was fellow of the program Starts from IMDEA Food, taking part in the study of the mechanism by which the consumption of DHA reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, and the analysis of miRNAs that modulate this effect.
In 2014 she made a practical stay at the National Center for Microbiology (ISCIII) in Spirochetes and special Pathogens Laboratory, carrying out
techniques of extraction, purification and sequencing of DNA, as well as PCR and Reverse Line Blotting for determination of pathogens in human blood samples.
Now Judit forms part of the team of Dr. Alberto Dávalos as predoctoral researcher, where she is developing a project based on the screening and characterization of miRNAs that regulates the metabolism of cholesterol and lipoproteins in the enterocyte, and the effect of minor components of the diet on its expression.
Phone: +34 91 727 81 00 , ext. 303
Flavia Brasil Spreafico
University of Rio de Janeiro
Yolanda Molero Miguel
Ainoa Gómez Díaz