Research Program. Precision Nutrition and Aging

Posttranscriptional Regulation of Metabolic Diseases

Group leader: Dr. Cristina Ramírez Hidalgo

Objectives: Aging is an important contributor to the etiologies of metabolic decline and related diseases, including cardiovascular disease, T2DM and neurodegenerative disorders. Metabolic diseases are characterized by the failure of regulatory genes or enzymes to effectively orchestrate specifi c pathways involved in the control of key biological processes. In addition to the classical transcriptional regulators, recent discoveries have shown the remarkable role of small non-coding RNAs (microRNAs) and RNA binding proteins (RBPs) in the posttranscriptional regulation of metabolism, and their involvement in many pathological states. Our interest in this area is to discover and characterize novel molecular mechanisms that underlie dysregulation of lipid metabolism, glucose homeostasis, and infl ammation during the development of pathologies like Alzheimer´s Disease, Diabetes and Atherosclerosis. Our group will approach these studies from a global perspective. Using a combination of genomics, in vivo models of human diseases, biochemistry, bioinformatics and molecular biology, we will investigate networks of non-coding RNAs and RBPs and their target genes to evaluate their impact on biological processes and age-related pathologies. These areas of investigation are necessary, not only because they address fundamental questions, but also because they will be of undeniable benefi t in our efforts to better understand and potentially treat ageassociated diseases.

Dr. Cristina Ramírez Hidalgo

Leader of the Posttranscriptional Regulation of Metabolic Diseases Group

Cristina M. Ramírez received her B.S. in Biology in 2001, and her PhD from the University of La Laguna in 2007. In 2010, after a first postdoctoral period at ULPGC, she was recruited by Dr. Carlos Fernández at NYU to study post-transcriptional regulators of lipid and glucose metabolism. She continued her work at Yale where she was appointed to the rank of faculty as an Associate Research Scientist. In 2015, she was awarded the prestigious “AHA´s Scientific Development Grant” and the “AHA-James and Donna Dickenson-Sublett Award for the Advancement of Cardiovascular Research” special award. Dr. Ramírez´s main research has been focus on the characterization of posttranscriptional regulators of ABCA1, and their implication in Atherosclerosis and Alzheimer´s Disease. She has authored more than 40 publications including book chapters, reviews and peer reviewed articles published in top journals such as Circulation Research, Cell Reports, Mol Cell Biol, ATVB, PNAS, Diabetes and Nat Med, among others. Currently, Dr. Cristina Ramírez is a “TALENTO Program” Fellow and leads the group of posttranscriptional regulation of metabolic diseases which a primarily focus on better understanding and deciphering novel molecular mechanisms and potential therapeutic opportunities to treat age-associated pathologies.


Phone: +34 91 727 81 00, ext. 312

most relevant publications
  • Ramírez CM., Sheng-Lin C., Abdelmohsen K., Goedeke L., Yoon JH., Madrigal-Matute J., Martin-Ventura JL., Vo DT., Uren PJ., Penalva LO., Gorospe M., Fernández-Hernando C. RNA-binding protein HuR regulates expression of ATPbinding cassette transporter A1. Journal Lipid Research. 2014, Apr 11; 55(6):1066-1076.
  • Yeung F., Ramírez CM., Mateos-Gómez PA., Pinzaru A.., Ceccarini , Kabir S., Fernández-Hernando C., Sfeir A. Nontelomeric role for RAP1 in regulating metabolism and protecting against obesity. Cell Reports. 2013, 3(6):1847-56.
  • Ramírez CM., Goedeke L., Rotllan N., Yoon JH., Cirera-Salinas D., Mattison JA., Suárez Y., de Cabo R., Gorospe M., Fernández-Hernando C. MicroRNA 33 regulates glucose metabolism. Mol Cell Biol. 2013, 33(15):2891-902.
  • Ramírez CM., Rotllan N., Vlassov AV., Dávalos A., Li M., Goedeke L., Aranda JF., Cirera-Salinas D., Araldi E., Salerno A., Wanschel AC., Zavadil J., Castrillo A., Kim J., Suárez Y., Fernández-Hernando C. Control of cholesterol metabolism and plasma HDL levels by miRNA-144. Circulation Research. 2013, 112(12):1592-601. *Article distinguished at cover page. [Editorial on Circ Res. 2013].
  • Ramírez CM., González M., Díaz M., Alonso R., Ferrer I., Sampere G., Puig B., Meyer G. and Marin R. Porine channel (VDAC) is found in human neuronal caveolae together with estrogen receptor and abundant in dystrophic neurons of Alzheimer ’s disease brains. Mol. Cell. Neurosci. 2009, Nov;42(3):172-83.
main research grants

Principal Investigator: Cristina Ramírez Hidalgo
Project Title: Role of miRNA in controlling LDLR activity and plasma LDL levels
Date: 2015-2018
Funded by: American Heart Association, USA. Scientist Development Grant AHA “James and Donna Dickenson-Sublett Awardee”


Principal Investigator: Carlos Fernández-Hernando

IMDEA Food participant researcher: Cristina Ramírez Hidalgo
Project Title: MIRVAD (Role of secreted microRNAs in cardiovascular disease)
Date: 2014-2018
Funded by: Foundation Leducq-Transatlantic Netwoks of Excellence EU


Principal Investigator: Cristina Ramírez Hidalgo
Project Title: Role of miR-33 during progression and regression of atherosclerosis
Date: 2012-2013
Funded by: American Heart Association; FDA Summer 2011 Postdoctoral grant AHA


Principal Investigator: Cristina Ramírez Hidalgo
Project Title: Control de la respuesta inmune en macrófagos por receptores nucleares
Date: 2009-2011
Funded by: University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria


Principal Investigator: Cristina Ramírez Hidalgo
Project Title: Mecanismos de neuroprotección: Papel de LXRPPAR en procesos isquémicos neuroinflamatorios
Date: 2009
Funded by: University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Programa INNOVA Canarias 2020