Research Program. Precision Nutrition and Cancer


Molecular Immunonutrition Group

Group leader: Dr. Moisés Laparra Llopis

Objectives: immunonutritional-based precision intervention strategies to a selective and driven modulation of innate immune responses preventing/treating the risk for severity of liver-related diseases and antitumoral response (s). Cereals, legumes and other grains have been shown to contain several different protease inhibitors, which have been assigned to different families on the basis of amino acid sequence similarities. These molecules play important roles as defensive agents against insects and pests, but also potentially deleterious/beneficial effects in human nutrition and immune function.

The latter represent greatest stimulus for Dr. Laparra’s research. Particularly, his research approaches the naturally powerful immunostimulatory property of toll-like receptors (TLRs) agonists for active immunotherapy against liver metabolic dysfunction and cancer promotion. Here, a better understanding and use of the immunonutritional-mediated TLR activation can greatly impact the functional differentiation and polarization of macrophages, as relevant prognostic biomarkers of tissue damage and tumor progression.

Additionally, the selective and driven metabolic programming of antigen presenting cells have important roles in the regulation of CD4+T cells priming as well as immune checkpoint blockade. Thereby, preventing effector CD8+T cells exhaustion and longer anti-tumoral response(s). A clear example is the activation of intestinal innate immune responses via TLR4 by defined non-gluten members of the α-amylase/trypsin inhibitors family, present in wheat endosperm and the source of flour. Besides, Dr. Laparra’s research provided significant contributions demonstrating that defined prebiotic structures modulate TLR4 innate immune responses, but normalizes the plasmatic concentrations of phospholipids, central in the setting of therapeutic effects.

Additionally, his research line contributed with effective immunonutritional interventions to promote an anti-inflammatory environment advantageous to CD8+ effector T cells development and reduce hepatic macrophages infiltration. These effects on macrophages, central in coordinating innate immune  responses, were associated to changes in the expression of the fatty acid receptor, recently associated to regulation of metastasic penetrance and tumor growth. The extent to which immunonutritional-based modulation can be translated into physiological benefits for large groups of population affected by liver-related diseases is a central objective of this research line.


Dr. Moisés Laparra Llopis

Group leader of the Molecular Immunonutrition Group

José Moisés Laparra Llopis holds a PhD in Pharmacy gained during his stay at the High Research Council of the Spanish Government. His scientific career is focused on the field of intestinal homeostasis and the crosstalk within gut-liver axis. The novelty and scientific and social impact of his studies was used by the European Food Safety Authority to establish recommendations concerning staple foods. A continuous contact and interaction with internationally renowned research groups constitutes a constant in Dr. Laparra’s career. He held a leading position on prebiotic research awarded by The Fulbright Commission to conduct postdoctoral research in the Food Science Department at Cornell University.

Additionally, he participated in teaching activities that end up in a renowned honor thesis awarded by the professional organization for food science and technology professionals in the U.S. This experience favored his incorporation to the Institute of Translational Immunology at the University Medical Center of Mainz University as independent researcher. Dr. Laparra has published over 70 scientific articles and book chapters.

He has overseen several precompetitive public funded projects. As senior researcher at IMDEA Food he develops immunonutritional-based precision strategies to tumor suppressioner.

Email:  moises.laparra@imdea.org
Phone: +34 91 727 81 00, ext. 213