Research Program. Precision Nutrition and Obesity

Director: Prof. José María Ordovás Muñoz

Objectives:  diet and exercise play an important role in the development and treatment of obesity and its comorbidities; however, it is well known that there is a dramatic inter-individual variability in the response to any therapeutic diet or physical regime aimed to prevent obesity and/or return to a healthy body weight.

In order to understand an individual’s susceptibility to becoming obese and their responsiveness to weight loss interventions we need to generate new knowledge at the molecular level using the tools provided by genetics and epigenetics as well as other omics, such as metabolomics. Most important in the current obesity epidemics is the fact that obesity begins early in life; therefore is of paramount importance that we understand the neurobiological factors that drive childhood obesity in order to decrease the current rates both at early ages as in the aging population.

It is precisely the later group that is being most seriously affected by the comorbidities of obesity (i.e., diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer); therefore, until such time that the developments of Precision Nutrition, in particular, and precision medicine in general, provide the means to prevent those diseases we need to develop better measures to improve the quality of life of those already in the elderly category and this can be done with the information provided by longitudinal cohorts designed to provide solid information about the current risk factors and facilitate the pathway to a healthy aging.

Nutritional Genomics and Epigenomics Group

Group leader: Prof. José María Ordovás Muñoz

Objectives: our group aims to provide genomic tools and knowledge to manage obesity and
related co-morbidites at the individual level through:

  • The identification of genetic variants predisposing to obesity.
  • The definition of how these variants interact with the diet to modulate such predisposition.
  • The understanding of the dietary modulation of the how diet is able to modulate the obesogenic epigenome.

Members

Students

Patricia Ortiz Leal
Paula Martínez Oca
Marta Bueno Tarodo
Elena Dueñas Martín
Joaquín García Cordero
Laura Antón Marcos
Laura Mariella  
Pietrantonio Milocco
María Aguirre Lozano
Raquel Aguado Puertas
Javier Tapia Belloso
Joaquina Gabella de Prado
Carmen Fernández Márquez
José Antonio Celada Guerrero

Neuroendocrinology of Metabolism Group

Group leader: Prof. Dr. Jesús Argente Oliver

Objectives: our strategic objectives are as follows:

  • To understand the causes of childhood obesities, including epigenetics, genetics, genomics and metabolomic influences.
  • To investigate the interaction between genetics and nutrition on metabolic and health outcomes.
  • To analyze comorbidities in children with severe early onset obesity.
  • We use animal models to try to understand the effects of early nutrition and hormonal changes on long-term metabolic health. At a cellular level, we are interested in how the brain, especially glial cells, respond to specific nutrients to affect metabolism and neuroinflammation.


Prof. Dr. Jesús Argente Oliver

Professor and Director of the Department of Pediatrics at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. Director of the Department of Pediatrics, Chairman of the Department of Pediatric Endocrinology and Director of the Laboratory of Research, Niño Jesús University Hospital Associate researcher, IMDEA Food
Group leader of the Neuroendocrinology of Metabolism Group 

He is Full Professor and Director of the Department of Pediatrics at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Director of the Department of Pediatrics and Chairman of the Department of Pediatric Endocrinology and Director of the Laboratory of Research at the Niño Jesús University Hospital in Madrid, Spain and is IP in the CIBER of Obesity and Nutrition, being the leader of the childhood obesity program.

He obtained his medical degree at the University of Zaragoza and completed his pediatric residency at the Hospital Ramón y Cajal in Madrid and has worked at the Hospital Saint Vincent de Paul in Paris, France, the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA, USA and at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA, USA.

His main research interests include childhood obesity, pathophysiology of human growth, puberty, eating disorders and diabetes.

He has published more than 300 original articles and has lectured in more than 30 countries. He is past president of the European Society for Pediatric Endocrinology (ESPE) and past president of the Spanish Society for Pediatric Endocrinology (SEEP). He has obtained multiple national and international awards for his research.

Cardiovascular and Nutritional Epidemiology Group

Group leader: Prof. Fernando Rodríguez Artalejo

Objectives: our strategic objective is to produce relevant information to support clinical and population-based policies aimed at controlling cardiovascular diseases and their functional adverse outcomes. Specifically we work on the following research areas:

  • Nutritional and omic determinants of frailty and functional status in the older adult.
  • Diet and physical activity as determinants of obesity and cardiovascular risk in the elderly.

The results of our studies have been incorporated into the National Strategy for Ischemic Heart Disease Control, the National Strategy for Obesity Prevention and Control, and the National Strategy on Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, elaborated by the Ministry of Health of Spain. Our group aims to provide genomic tools and knowledge to manageobesity and related co-morbidites at the individual level through:

  • The identification of genetic variants predisposing to obesity. 
  • The definition of how these variants interact with the diet to modulate such predisposition.
  • The understanding of the dietary modulation of the how diet is able to modulate the obesogenic epigenome.

Prof. Fernando Rodríguez Artalejo

Professor of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Medical. School of the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. Associate researcher, IMDEA Food. Group leader of the Cardiovascular and Nutritional. Epidemiology Group

Fernando Rodríguez Artalejo, MD, PhD, is Professor of Preventive Medicine and Public Health at the Medical School of the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. Dr. Rodríguez Artalejo graduated from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and received postgraduate training in the La Paz University Hospital, the Institute of Health Carlos III and the Spanish Ministry of Health in Madrid, as well as in the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg of Public Health in Baltimore. He has published over 400 scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals (h-index 51) and contributed to many policy documents on health planning and evaluation and on prevention and control of obesity and cardiovascular disease.

He has received the Carles Martí Henneberg award to a scientific career on
Nutrition Research, the Ciril Rozman award of the Spanish Society of Internal Medicine, the Silver Medal of the National Plan on Drug Addiction, and the Encomienda de la Orden Civil de Sanidad. Dr. Rodríguez Artalejo has been a member of the Scientific Committee of the Spanish Agency of Foods Safety and Nutrition, and currently serves in the European Advisory Committee of Health Research of the World Health Organization and in the Expert Panel of the European Joint Action on Prevention of Frailty (ADVANTAGE).