Research projects > Competitive Research Projects

PREDIMED+DM

Effect of a hypocaloric Mediterranean diet and physical activity promotion on the prevention of
type 2 diabetes mellitus in subjects with the Metabolic Syndrome

Principal researcher: Dr. Lidia Daimiel Ruiz
Funded by: Instituto de Salud de Carlos III
Duration: 2018 - 2020

The aim of this project is to evaluate the effect on the incidence of T2DM of an intensive weight loss intervention based on a traditional hypocaloric Mediterranean Diet, physical activity and behavioral therapy, as compared to dietary advice based on a Mediterranean Dietary in the context of usual health care.
The PREDIMED+DM study is impinged in the PREDIMED-PLUS study, a randomized clinical trial evaluating the effect of same therapeutic strategies used in our study but on primary prevention of cardiovascular disease in overweight/obese subjects with the metabolic syndrome.

PHOSPHOLIPIDS4COGNITION

Evaluation of a nutritional supplement enriched with bioactive phospholipids designed to prevent
age-associate mild cognitive impairment

Principal researcher: Dr. Javier Fontecha Alonso (CIAL, CSIC-UAM)
IMDEA Food participant researcher: Dr. Francesco Visioli
Funded by: Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad
Duration: 2015 - 2018


Cognitive impairment (IC) associate with age (Age-related cognitive decline -ARCD) is one of the great challenges of our society today due to the aging population, which is a serious social and family problem, as well as a great difficulty for national health systems. Since currently available pharmacological treatments are not effective in preventing IC, are been promoted multidisciplinary strategies related to the prevention of chronic diseases associate with aging. Both the R+D+I and the H2020 include multidisciplinary lines in order to improve the understanding, prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of mental conditions and disorders of the elderly. PHOSPHOLIPIDS4COGNITION raises the approach of a coordinated multidisciplinary project, whose overall objective is to investigate the effect of the intake of PLs bio actives (of dairy and marine origin) in the prevention and treatment of cognitive impairment associate with aging, using a preclinical study with aged rats and a clinical study in a cohort of older adults previously diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment.

EPIC Spain

Chrono-diet, regulatory polymorphisms of the circadian clock, weight change and obesity in the European Prospective Study on Nutrition and Cancer (PI15/01658)

Principal researcher: José Ramón Quirós García (Fundación Fomento en Asturias de la Investigación Científica Aplicada y la Tecnología)
IMDEA Food participant researcher: Dr. José Mª Ordovás Muñoz
Funded by: Instituto de Salud de Carlos III
Duration: 2016 - 2018

The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) is a prospective cohort with more than 521 000 study participants enrolled from 23 centres in 10 western European countries. Detailed information on diet, lifestyle characteristics, anthropometric measurements, and medical history was collected at recruitment (1992-1999).
Biological samples including plasma, serum, leukocytes, and erythrocytes were also collected at baseline from 387.889 individuals and are stored at the International Agency for Research on Cancer – World Health Organization (IARC-WHO) and mirrored at EPIC collaborating centres. The EPIC study is being conducted in five Spanish regions: Asturias, the Basque Country, Navarra, Murcia, and Andalucía (Granada). The coordinating centre is in Barcelona. Recruitment began in 1992—1993, and it was finished in 1996. The cohort in Spain consists of 41.438 participants with interviews on diet, and 39.880 participants with blood samples available. Follow-up measures of lifestyle exposures have been collected and will be centralized at IARC in 2014. Follow-up consists of a computerized version of a follow-up questionnaire. Follow-up for the identification of cancer cases is based on a computerized record linkage program that links EPIC files with the population cancer registries of Asturias, Basque Country, Granada, Murcia, and Navarra.

FORCHRONIC

Formulation of food products for the prevention and targeted treatment of chronic diseases related to metabolism (AGL2016-76736-C3-3-R)

Principal researcher: Dr. Ana Ramírez de Molina
Funded by: Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad
Duration: 2016 - 2019

The objective of the project FORCHRONIC is to design, develop and validate the effect and safety of new formulas for humans, effective in regulating the molecular mechanisms of cellular cholesterol transport and the activation of fatty acid synthesis, fundamental routes in the development of colorectal cancer, obesity and metabolic syndrome, in order to achieve food products with high added value, highly effective as nutritional supplements aimed at preventing and improving the treatment of these diseases. The project is based on two hypotheses resulting from the previous project carried out by the research team within the State Program of R+D+I, Challenging the Society; The regulation of ABCA1 metabolism genes and the ACSL / SCD pathway allows the control of cholesterol transport pathways and the activation of fatty acid synthesis, associated with the development of chronic diseases such as colon cancer and the metabolic syndrome; Formulas based on the combination of polar lipids and bioactive principles of natural origin can provide for efficient regulation of metabolism genes due to potentiation of bioavailability and synergistic biological activity.


EIntesti-nAhRuNg

Therapeutic modulation of non-coding RNAs through bioactive components of the diet: impact on pathophysiological regulation of lipid metabolism (AGL2016-78922-R)

Principal researcher: Dr. Alberto Dávalos Herrera
Funded by: Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad
Duration: 2016 - 2019

Despite advances in the prevention and the success of many widely prescribed drugs for the management of dyslipidemia, cardiovascular disease remains a leading cause of mortality. This highlights the need for deeper insight into disease mechanism and innovative therapeutic strategies. A large amount of novel transcripts from our genome are transcribed into different types of noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs) including microRNAs (miRNAs) and long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs). Several novel ncRNAs are being identified as regulators of different biological processes and associated with different complex human diseases. Moreover, recent evidence suggests that the expression of certain miRNAs and lncRNAs can be modulated by food bioactive components. The emerging function of ncRNAs in cholesterol and lipid metabolism and their possible modulation by diet, open up new therapeutic possibilities. “Intesti-NahRuNg” aims to characterize the role of novel miRNAs and lncRNAs in both the physiological and pathological processes of intestinal lipid metabolism and test their therapeutic modulation through dietary bioactive compounds.


NUPROBED

Formulation of food products for the prevention and targeted treatment of chronic diseases related to metabolism (AGL2016-76736-C3-3-R)

Principal researcher: Dr. Pablo Fernández Marcos
Funded by: Fundación BBVA
Duration: 2016 - 2018

Obesity and the pathologies derived, encompassed under the term Metabolic Syndrome, are considered one of the main health challenges of the 21st century. Many naturally occurring extracts have been used against obesity and diabetes for centuries, in many cases with beneficial effects and few side effects, and almost always without a thorough knowledge of their mechanisms of action. The NUPROBED project, which is being carried out by IMDEA Food in collaboration with the Institute of Food Science Research (CIAL) and the National Cancer Research Center (CNIO), aims to find new bioactive products derived from foods with potential against Obesity, thanks to its effects on the main metabolic signaling pathways involved in this pathology. This project contemplates conducting a bioactive product search through high performance biological research platforms (HTS) testing four crucial metabolic pathways for obesity and diabetes: Insulin pathway, mitochondrial potential, pentoses phosphate pathway and adipogenesis.



ExoRNAs

Modulation of exosomes transporters of miRNAs and lncRNAs for intercellular communication as a therapeutic tool against dyslipidemia (CIVP18A3888)

Principal researcher: Dr. Alberto Dávalos Herrera
Funded by: Fundación Ramón Areces
Duration: 2017-2020

Exosomes are nanovesicles secreted to the extracellular space and involved in intercellular communication, and that are associated with different physiological and pathological processes. Therefore, their modulation has tremendous therapeutic potential as well as for diagnosis purposes. Dietary excess is the main cause of dyslipidemia and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Postprandial lipemia is a residual risk factor that contributes to CVD. The role of exosomes in postprandial lipemia is completely unknown. Moreover, recent studies suggest that some dietary bioactive components may modify the secretion of exosomes. As exosomes contain a lipid bilayer originated from the cell membranes, and these lipids are influenced by the lipids in our diet, we hypothesized that through our diet we could modulate the secretion of exosomes and/or modulate their cargo for therapeutic purposes against dyslipidemia. Thus, the major aim of this proposal is to validate and characterize exosomes that transport miRNAs and lncRNAs in conditions of postprandial lipemia and characterize their mechanisms of action in the context of lipid metabolism. In addition, as proof of concept, we will determine the therapeutic modulation of exosomes through a nutritional intervention aimed to change the composition of the lipids of their membrane and thus alter their cargo and/or secretion. Our experimental approaches will provide therapeutic alternatives for the modulation of exosome secretion and thus contribute to regulate intercellular communication as a therapeutic tool against dyslipidemia and CVD. 



DIOBIO

New bioactive products against obesity and diabetes (CIVP18A3891)

Principal researcher: Dr. Pablo. Fernández Marcos
Funded by: Fundación Ramón Areces
Duration: 2017-2020

The project studies the potential of food-derived bioactive products (FDBPs) for the prevention and treatment of metabolic syndrome, a poorly developed and very promising field of research. The project has 5 steps, which are not strictly interdependent, with preliminary data and contingency plans to ensure a successful outcome: (1) Setting up biological assays in high throughput format to screen for products impinging on some important metabolic pathways of high relevance for obesity and diabetes. (2) Screening two sets of FDBPs: 1000 pure natural compounds from commercially available libraries; and a library of extracts from medicinal plants of unknown molecular mechanisms of action. We will test these products on our screening systems, to determine their basic metabolic potential. (3) Developing clean, safe and effective preparation methods to obtain extracts from food sources enriched in the active natural compounds. (4) Performing a thorough molecular characterization of the mechanisms of action of the selected food-derived bioactive products using different molecular readouts. (5) Testing these products on mouse models to determine in vivo parameters of the bioactive products of interest, such as safety, effectiveness against metabolic syndrome, etc.
All these data will pave the way to further development of the bioactive products for tests on humans. We anticipate relevant discoveries in the field of food development and global human health, given the alarming increase of metabolic syndrome incidence and the scarcity of ambitious studies on food-derived bioactive products and their potential against this condition.



PREDIMED+DM

Effect of weight loss with a hypocaloric Mediterranean diet and physical activity promotion in the
prevention of type 2 diabetes in people with metabolic syndrome (PI17/00508)

Principal researcher: Dr. Lidia Daimiel Ruiz
Funded by: Instituto de Salud de Carlos III
Granting date: 11/12/2017

The aim of this project is to evaluate the effect on the incidence of T2DM of an intensive weight loss intervention based on a traditional hypocaloric Mediterranean Diet, physical activity and behavioral therapy, as compared to dietary advice based on a Mediterranean Dietary in the context of usual health care.
The PREDIMED+DM study is impinged in the PREDIMED-PLUS study, a randomized clinical trial evaluating the effect of same therapeutic strategies used in our study but on primary prevention of cardiovascular disease in overweight/obese subjects with the metabolic syndrome.



SIRTBIO

Sirtuins as biomarkers and targets in cancer: Sirt1 and Sirt3 in lung and liver carcinogenesis

Principal researcher: Dr. Pablo Fernández Marcos
Funded by: AECC
Granting date: 01/10/2018-30/09/2020

The present Project proposes the characterization of two of the best known sirtuin members, namely Sirt1 and Sirt3, in their roles in cancer development. More precisely, previous data from our group show that Sirt1 acts as a tumor suppressor in lung carcinogenesis; and that Sirt3 is also a tumor suppressor in hepatocellular carcinoma. Our project is divided in three different research lines: (1) Study of the roles of Sirt1 in lung adenocarcinoma (LAC) development: previous research from our laboratory has identified several differentially expressed genes in Sirt1-overexpressing, LAC-resistant neumocytes. We want to study further this list of genes, validate them in human samples, and explore possible therapeutical implications. (2) Study the mechanisms by which Sirt3 inhibits the formation of hepatocellular carcinoma in female mice: previous data from our group show that Sirt3-deficient female mice lose their resistance to hepatocarcinoma (HC) formation, pointing to a protective role of Sirt3 in females. We want to explore the mechanisms by which Sirt3 exerts this protective function. In particular, previous reports have shown that the transcription factor Stat5B is the main responsible of this sexual dimorphism in mice and humans, and we want to explore the relationship between Stat5B and Sirt3. These two lines of research follow the results that we have previously developed thanks to a Postdoctoral Fellowship from the aecc. (3) Finally, we want to develop a high-throughput screening to find novel natural bioactive products that can activate Sirtuins by increasing the NAD+/NADH ratio. These discovered natural boosters of NAD+ levels and sirtuins activity can be used as nutritional additives or complements in the diet, which makes them specially suitable for cancer preventive approaches as the one presented in this proposal. These products will increase the activity of all sirtuins, that have been reported to have beneficial properties in general in the bibliography. We want to test the ability of the identified products to delay the development of LAC or HC, as happens with the mouse models described in Objetives 1 and 2.
In all, our proposal constitutes a feasible, ambitious and highly relevant project for human health, with strong implications in the field of cancer prevention. The obtained results will allow to dissect the molecular and physiological mechanisms by which Sirt1 and Sirt3 protect from LAC and HC development, two of the most aggressive tumors in humans; and to develop bioactive products that, by activating these enzymes, can be used to protect from LAC and HC.


AGL2017-90623-REDT

Nutrición de precisión y ejercicio físico como moduladores del epigenoma en patologías de los
excesos alimenticios

Principal researcher: Dr. Alberto Dávalos Herrera
Funded by: Ministerio de Ciencia Innovación y Universidades- AGI
Granting date: 01/07/2018-30/06/2020

Epigenetics is implicated in both, normal cell functioning and disease. Environmental factors like diet, physical activity, stress, microbiota or others, can change the activity of genes without alteration the genetic code, through epigenetic mechanisms. “NutriEpiGen” thematic network aims to synergize the work of those Spanish research groups that search for novel modulators of our epigenome –through precision nutrition and/or physical exercise– to prevent or treat diseases associated to dietary excess. The 10 join-teams provide internationally recognized crossdisciplinary expertise in food bioactive, nutrition, epigenetics, exercise, experimental biology, and clinical medicine, a combination of skills that will help to translate findings from bench to bedside.

SAF2017-85766-R

Caracterización de los mecanismos moleculares del ayuno de corta duración como potenciador de la quimioterapia.

Principal researcher: Dr. Pablo Fernández Marcos
Funded by: Ministerio de Ciencia Innovación y Universidades- AGI
Granting date: 01/01/2018-31/12/2020
R.- concesión: 14/06/2018

The present Project proposes the characterization of fasting as a nutritional intervention potentiating chemotherapy. Short-term fasting has been consistently shown to improve metabolic, neurological and cardiovascular status in mice and humans. During the last years, short-termfas ing has also been reported to enhance anti-tumor chemotherapy treatments in two ways: (a) fast ing protects from chemotherapy toxicity in different organs; and (b) fasting enhances the anti-tumor immune response after che othe apy treatment. Previously, our laboratory has shown that fasting strongly induces the expression of the cell cycle inhibitor p21 (also called Cip1 or CDKN1A) in several tissues, including blood cells. Our project is based on three hypothesis: (1) short-term fasting induces a strong molecular and physiological response, not yet fully characterized, responsible for its chemotherapy-enhancing effects. (2) p21 induction during short-term fasting is important for its chemotherapy-enhancing ef  cts (reduction of toxicity and improved antitumoral immune response). (3) It is possible to reproduce the chemotherapy-enhancing effects of fasting through treatment with a precise combination of bioactive products reproducing certain molecular and physiological aspects of fasting.
Based on these hypothesis, our project addresses the following 3 objectives: study the role of p21 (1) the protection from chemotherapy t oxicity and in (2) the enhancement of chemotherapyactivated anti-tumor immune response; and (3) define a bioactive products cocktail that can reproduce the fasting-mediated chemotherapy enhancement (decreased toxicity and improved immune response). To these aims, we will use in vitro systems, mouse models and samples from human patients of cancer subjected to short-term fasting during chemotherapy interventions.

In all, our proposal constitutes a feasible, ambitious and highly relevant project for human health, directed to the Societal Challenge 1, “Health, demographic change and wellbeing” of the Spanish Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy and the H2020. The obtained results will allow to dissect the molecular and physiological mechanisms driving a potent, well-validated and safe method for chemotherapy enhancement, as is fasting, and its outcomes can have strong practical implications in the clinical management of chemotherapy. 


ALIBIRD-CM

Functional Foods and nutritional strategies for the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases.
(ALIBIRD III S2013/ABI-2728)

Principal researchers: Dr. Ana Ramírez de Molina (ONCOGENOM) and Dr. Francesco Visioli
(GENECO)
Funded by:
Consejería de Educación e Investigación. Comunidad de Madrid
Duration: 2014 - 2018

A total of 9 research groups of the Community of Madrid are involved in this consortium that aims to advance forward scientific aspects of knowledge needed for the development of high efficacy and security functional foods to contribute to the improvement of the health of populations, and reducing obesity and improving the life of cancer patients.
It also pretends to contribute to the competitiveness of European industry in the food and nutrition area.


GEPS - CM

Population, family and aging in the contemporary world: dimensions of an ongoing process (S2015/HUM-3321)

Principal investigator: Dr. David Sven Reher Sullivan (UCM)
IMDEA Food participant investigator: Dr. Lidia Daimiel Ruiz
Funded by: Consejería de Educación, Juventud y Deporte. Comunidad de Madrid
Duration: 2016 - 2018

The Project GEPS: “Population, family and aging in the contemporary world: different dimensions of an ongoing process” is root in the Social Sciences sphere but with the purpose of gathering professionals from the Health Sciences and the Social Sciences to study different aspects of the aging process. In the frame of this project, different studies will be carried out that focus on:

  • Fertility and reproduction
  • International migrations and demographic shift
  • Family · Economic challenges associated with the aging society
  • Active life in elder people
  • Nutrition and quality of live in the aging process

This project offers a multidisciplinary study of aging process from a historical, demographic, sociological, economical and biological point of view. As a result, this project will allow to gain a deeper understanding of the effect of aging on the society that will pave the way to the development of new programs and policies to face the challenge of the aging society. 


CIFRA2-CM

Consortium for the study of acute renal failure: physiopathology, new therapies, biomarkers and experimental models (B2017 / BMD - 3686)

Principal researcher: Lisardo Bosca Gomar (UCM)
IMDEA Food participant researcher:
Dr. Moises Laparra Llopis
Funded by:
Consejería de Educación e Investigación. Comunidad de Madrid
Granting date:
December 2017

The changes described in the gut microbiota composition favor lower glycolytic versatility and greater transport of simple sugars derived from dietary carbohydrates and the production of uremic toxins and activation of the NRLP3 inflammasome, associated with immunometabolic processes of inflammation that aggravate renal failure. Here CIFRA2 aims to elucidate the role of gut microbiota as well as their metabolites in the onset of acute kidney failure disease. To this end, concerted and multidisciplinar research efforts are performed to arm clinicians and, finally, society with translation strategies to clinical practice.


ALIBIRD2020-CM

Therapeutic formulas of precision nutrition for cancer (S2018/BAA-4343)

Principal researchers: Dr. Guillermo Reglero, Functional Foods Ingredients, INGREEN (UAM) Research Group Leader
Funded by:
Program call of R & D Activities among Research Groups of the Community of Madrid (Technologies 2018) and co-financed with European Union Structural Funds.
Duration:
01/01/2019 - 31/12/2022

The ALIBIRD2020-CM Scientific Program is focused to design and validate products together with precision nutrition strategies aimed at improving the prognosis of cancer patients. The aim is to provide new approaches to the design of new therapeutic nutritional supplements through the formulation of self emulsifying and bioactive lipid carriers, combined with natural extracts from food sources and through synergies in bioavailability and bioactivity, leading to effective products when targeting Metabolic agents involved in processes of tumor proliferation, metastasis or resistance to chemotherapy. 
The validation of the nutritional supplements developed within the framework of ALIBIRD2020- CM, that is to say, the demonstration of its effectiveness will be carried out in nutrigenetic clinical trials where the genetic profiles that respond better to the treatments with the therapeutic nutritional complements will be identified. Clinical trials will include the analysis of the relationship between diet and the composition and metabolism of the gut microbiota of patients, to associate the microbiota with cancer. In the use by the patients of the treatments derived from the studies of ALIBIRD2020-CM it is essential to have an ICT tool (an App) that empowers the users in the self-management of the prescribed strategies and that motivates them to adequately comply with the necessary guidelines to achieve the set health goals, in addition to sending doctors useful data for clinical follow-up.

ALIBIRD2020-CM brings together more than 40 researchers in a multidisciplinary consortium, composed of experts in different areas such us of Life Sciences, Food Technology, Nutrition, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Biomedicine and Telemedicine belonging to five research organizations of the Community of Madrid: Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM), Polytechnic
University of Madrid (UPM), IMDEA Food Institute (IMDEA FOOD), Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), La Paz University Hospital (FIBHULP) and Infanta Sofia Hospital (HUIS).

Also, three companies actively support the activities of the consortium: Natac Group, specialized in natural bioactive extracts; Biopolis-ADM, with capacity for industrial production of new formulas; Canaan Research & Investment, specialized in health sector transfer of technology. 
Based on the previous scientific-technological program, ALIBIRD2020-CM intends to make relevant scientific and socio-economic contributions in the field of health. Likewise, for the food and nutrition industry, it is essential to have innovative strategies that lead to the creation of real value and reinforce their competitiveness. For these strategies to be effective it is necessary to train new nutritionists to obtain their confidence in the prescription of precision food products for cancer. Equally important is that patients and the population, in general, know the possibilities offered by modern nutrition to demand and use. Therefore, it is also the objective of ALIBIRD2020-CM to carry out training and communication actions in this direction.
To face the above challenges, ALIBIRD2020-CM will also have huge potential support within the framework of two major European projects of the European Institute of Innovation & Technology, EIT Food (https://www.eitfood.eu/) and EIT Health (https://www.eithealth.eu/), thanks to the involvement in them of some of their groups.


EIT Food: Food4Future - Sustainable Supply Chain from Resources to Consumers

Therapeutic formulas of precision nutrition for cancer (S2018/BAA-4343)

Principal researcher: Dr. Guillermo Reglero Rada and Dr. Ana Ramírez de Molina
Funded by:
European Institute of Innovation and Technology
Duration:
2016-2023

EIT Food is a pan-European consortium that focuses on entrepreneurship and innovation in the food sector. The members of the EIT Food community are world-class players in the international food domain: over 50 partners from leading businesses, research centers and universities across 13 countries.
EIT Food has six strategic objectives: 1.overcome low consumer trust; 2. create consumer valued food for healthier nutrition; 3. build a consumer-centric connected food system; 4. Enhance sustainability; 5. Educate to engage, innovate and advance; 6. catalyse food entrepreneurship and innovation: foster innovation at all stages of business creation. 
EIT Food’s headquarter is located in Leuven/Belgium and it is structured around five Co-location Centres (CLCs) located in Reading (with partners from the UK, Ireland and Iceland), Warsaw (with partners from Eastern Europe and Nordic countries), Madrid (with partners from Spain, Italy and Israel), Leuven (with partners from Belgium, France and Switzerland) and Munich (with partners from Germany and the Netherlands).
IMDEA Food Institute and at the Universidad Autónoma have the honor of being the Spanish CLC South’s headquarter for Education and Communication activities.