Research Program. Precision Nutrition and Cancer
Molecular Oncology Group
Group leader: Dr. Ana Ramírez de Molina
Objectives: the group is currently focused on three research topics:
- Lipid metabolism disorders in cancer: identification of new biomarkers and therapeutic targets in diet-related tumors. In this subject, the work of our group mainly focuses on the analysis of lipid metabolism alterations in cancer. Most specifically, we aim at studying the special energetic and structural requirements of tumor cells as well as identifying novel biomarkers of progression and response to therapy, which may represent new therapeutic targets. To this end, in close collaboration with the divisions of Medical Oncology from several hospitals, we analyze clinical samples from cancer patients using state-of-the-art genomic approaches.
- Gene expression analysis, identification of gene variants and epigenetic regulation by microRNAs of lipid metabolism pathways are then used to study their association with the clinical outcome of the disease. Furthermore, we perform functional studies both using conventional and three-dimensional cell culture such as organoids, and animal models to investigate the role of identified genes and microRNAs. We are especially interested in identifying metabolic profiles associated to the disease progression and analyzing their role from in-vitro cell systems to cancer patients. These analyses are mainly focused on the identification of metabolic pathways and distinctive oncometabolites that may constitute novel markers and targets for the development of future cancer therapies, as well as the genetic basis of the relationship between obesity, associated metabolic disorders and cancer.
- Activity and mechanism of action of bioactive compounds as potential effective dietary supplements in cancer prevention and treatment. We evaluate the activity and molecular mechanism of action of bioactive compounds that may have a therapeutic use in cancer, either alone or in combination with existing chemotherapy. The aim is to establish the scientific basis for the development of nutritional supplements that may exert a beneficial effect on the disease. In close collaboration with the Bioactive Food Ingredients Group from the Research Institute of Food Science (CIAL, CSIC-UAM), we design and characterize different formulations of bioactive compounds. We combine genomics and functional studies in cell lines and intestinal organoids to determine the effect and target populations for personalized therapeutic use of these formulations.
- These products are further evaluated in animal models and finally, in clinical trials in healthy volunteers or cancer patients. Recently, we have evaluated the antitumor effect of a supercritical extract of rosemary approved as safe for human use by EFSA. Such extract inhibits proliferation, induces cell death, and potentiates the effect of chemotherapy, both in sensitive and resistant colon cancer cells. Its formulation for human consumption shows an immunomodulatory effect in healthy volunteers and it is currently being used in a phase-I clinical trial in cancer patients.
Dr. Ana Ramírez de Molina
Deputy Director, Director of the Precision Nutrition Program and Group leader of the Molecular Oncology Group.
Dr. Ana Ramírez de Molina has developed her scientific career in the field of lipid metabolism, molecular oncology, nutrition and cancer. She has worked as an associated researcher in the Traslational Oncology Unit CSIC-UAM-La Paz Hospital (Madrid), and has performed long postdoctoral stays at Cancer Research UK Centre for Therapeutics (London) and the Molecular Pathology Division of the Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (New York). She has published more than 60 scientific articles in her research field, is co-inventor of 6 patents in different phases of exploitation by a biotechnology company and has supervised 6 PhD Thesis.
Several of her patents promoted the creation of a spin-off company from CSIC focused on the development of new tumour markers and therapies in Cancer in which she was former Director of Research, Development and Innovation for more than 3 years. She joined IMDEA Food Institute in 2010, where she leads the Programe of Precision Nutrition and Cancer. From 2011 she has been the Coordinator of Research, Development and Transfer, and in 2014 was promoted to Deputy Director of the Institute.
In 2002 she was awarded with the prize Young Researchers MSD, in 2003 the extraordinary doctorate recognition as the best Thesis of her promotion in Molecular Biology, and in 2016 the 8th March distinction from the Community of Madrid as an outstanding woman in Science.
Phone: +34 91 727 81 00, ext. 102
Dr. Ruth Sánchez Martínez
Dr. Ruth Sánchez Martínez, obtained her BSc at the Oviedo University (2001). Her PhD training (2002-2007) was focused on the molecular mechanisms of action of nuclear receptors of thyroid hormone, vitamin D and retinoids under the supervision of Prof. Ana Aranda at the IIB Madrid (CSIC). In 2008 she joined, as a postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Marcos Malumbres group at the CNIO to study the role of new proteins involved in mitotic exit regulation of importance in cancer therapy using genetically modified mice. She also studied microRNA regulation of several important cell cycle regulators. In the last years she has published several articles in prestigious international journals and she took part in both national and international research grants and consortiums. In 2012 she joined IMDEA to study new biomar-kers and bioactive compounds in human cancer.
Phone: +34 91 727 81 00, ext. 301
Dr. Marta Gómez de Cedrón
Dr. Marta Gómez de Cedrón, obtained her Bachelor’s degree in
Biological Sciences (BSc) at the University of the Basque Country (UPV-EHU). Her PhD training was performed at the National Centre of Biotechonology (CNB-UAM-CSIC) under the supervision of Dr. Juan Antonio García Álvarez “Enzymatic characterization of cylindrical inclusion protein (CI) of Plum Pox
Virus”. In 2005 she moved as a postdoctoral researcher (Fullbright Grant) to the Institute for Biological Sciences (IBS-NRC) in Canada at Danica Stanimirovic’s lab. Her research aimed to elucidate the role of mutants of Grb7 mutants in the stimulation of angiogenesis in glioblastomas. In 2006 she joined Dr. Marcos Malumbres’ group at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO). During this period, she worked in mouse models for depletion (cKO) and overexpression (iKI) of microRNA-203 and its role in skin cancer and leukaemias. In
2013 she joined Ana Ramírez de Molina’s lab at IMDEA Food Institute (Molecular Oncology Group). Her interests are the study of (1) Cell Metabolism alterations (specifically lipid metabolism) in Chronic Diseases related to Nutrition, and (2) the characterization of the Biological Activities of Bioactive Compounds and Plant derived Extracts to be used as supplements in the prevention/treatment in human cancer.
Phone: +34 91 727 81 00, ext. 210
Dr. Cristina Aguirre Portolés
Dr. Cristina Aguirre Portolés, BS in Biology at Autónoma University in Madrid, started her scientific career at the Spanish National Cancer Institute in 2006. Her studies were mainly focused in the role of the mitotic protein TPX2 both in mouse development and tumorogenisis in adults. Part of this research was performed at the Max Plank Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics under the supervision of Dr. Anthony Hyman. After obtaining her PhD degree in Molecular Biology and Genetics she joined the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in 2012. She focused her work in the implication of chromosomal instability in the initiation, progression and regression of non-small-cell lung cancer
(NSCLC). She joined IMDEA in 2014 as a postdoctoral researcher focusing her studies in the association between metabolic syndrome, obesity and cancer.
Phone: +34 91 727 81 01, ext. 212
Dr. Lara P. Fernández Álvarez
Lara P. Fernández Álvarez, obtained her PhD in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biomedicine from the Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM) and the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), Spain, in 2009. Her thesis focused on the characterization of genetic susceptibility to malignant melanoma. Since 2010, she has conducted postdoctoral research at the Molecular and Cell Biology of the Thyroid group in the Biomedical Research Institute (IIBm-CSICUAM), in Madrid. In December 2014 she joined IMDEA Molecular Oncology Group. She has a solid professional experience in the biology of cancer, molecular endocrinology, transcription factors and thyroid signalling pathways, as well as human genetics, cancer susceptibility and oncogenes. Additionally, she has published several research articles in the field of thyroid, melanoma, and breast cancer.
Phone: +34 91 727 81 00, ext. 212
Dr. Juan Moreno Rubio
Currently Juan Moreno Rubio combines his work as a collaborator in the group of Molecular Oncology of IMDEA Food with the coordination of the Precision Oncology Laboratory (POL) of the Infanta Sofia University Hospital. Previously, he coordinated the Laboratory of Translational Oncology of La Paz Hospital (IdiPAZ, Group 32) and performed his doctoral thesis (Excellent Cum Laude) in the Osteoarticular Pathology Laboratory (IISFJD). As a result of this activity has participated in 26 publications in international scientific journals, has taken part in 11 research projects, 7 of these projects financed in competitive public calls. He has been involved in the invention of 2 patents, has directed 2 doctoral theses and he has given numerous communications to international conferences.
Phone: +34 91 727 81 00
Jorge Martínez Romero
Jorge Martínez Romero is currently working on his Doctoral Thesis at the IMDEA Food Institute’s Molecular Oncology Group, after completing the Diploma in Human Nutrition, the Degree in Human Nutrition and Dietetics and a Masters in Agricultural Chemistry and Novel Foods from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (2014). He holds a Bachelor of Economics Science ICADE E-2 degree from Pontificia University of Comillas (1989), and has led several companies related to the manufacture and assembly of machinery for the food industry. He currently combines his work in the field of research with his business administration.
Silvia Cruz Gil
Silvia Cruz Gil obtained her Biochemistry Degree at Universidad Complutense de Madrid in 2013. During the last two years of her degree she collaborated with the Biochemistry II Department at Pharmacy School in Universidad Complutense de Madrid studying the molecular biology of hepatocellular carcinoma. Later, she continued her training by obtaining a Master in Molecular Biosciences at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid in 2014. Meanwhile, Silvia joined ALGENEX (Alternative Gene Expression S.L.) in association with I.N.I.A. (National Institute of Agricultural and Food Research and Technology) for an internship. During this period she worked in the development of vectored vaccines. In October 2014, she started studies conducive to her PhD Degree at IMDEA Food Institute in the Molecular Oncology Group. Her research primarily focuses on the role of the lipid metabolism in tumor progression. In April 2016 she obtained a Boehringer Ingelheim Travel Grant to perform a short research stage in the University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus (Dresden, Germany) to learn organoids technique under the supervision of Dr. Daniel Stange.
Phone: +34 91 727 81 00
Dr. Elena María Arranz Gutiérrez
University of Guelph(Canada)
Food Science Department
Jesús del Barrio Morán
Marta Blanco López
Diego Portillo Liso
Irene Marina Beltrán de Heredia Anguita