Research Program. Precision Nutrition and Aging
Director: Dr. Manuel Serrano Marugán
Objectives: the recently created Precision Nutrition and Aging Program at IMDEA Food is focused on the molecular and physiological effects that nutrition exerts on the process of aging. Since aging is a complex, multi-organ degenerative process strongly influenced by the genetic background and the environment, our research covers a wide range of biological topics: from the discovery and development of new bioactive products active against aging-related pathologies, to the dissection of different molecular pathways involved in degenerative pathologies, or the study of nutritional interventions with anti-aging properties, such as fasting or calorie restriction.
Headed by Dr. Manuel Serrano, one of the most prestigious Spanish scientist in the fields of aging and cancer, the Precision Nutrition and Aging Department is intensely expanding at the moment. Recently, it has incorporated another of the worldwide best-known aging scientist, Dr. Rafael de Cabo, from the National Institute of Aging, a reference in the study of calorie restriction as a nutritional intervention to lengthen lifespan. Along with these two very important figures, the group of Dr. Pablo J. Fernandez-Marcos, focused on nutritional interventions (bioactive products, fasting) to fight obesity, diabetes and aging, form the program.
Dr. Manuel Serrano Marugán
Director of the Tumour Suppression Group and Director of the Molecular Oncology Program, Spanish National Cancer
Research Center Associate researcher, IMDEA Food Director of the Precision Nutrition and Aging Program
Manuel Serrano is a researcher at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), in Madrid, and Director of the Molecular Oncology Program of the CNIO.
After completing his studies and PhD in Madrid, M.S. joined the laboratory of David Beach, at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, NY, USA, as postdoctoral fellow from 1992 to 1996. During this time, Manuel Serrano made one of his most important contributions with the discovery of the tumour suppressor p16. Manuel Serrano established his research group, first at the National Center of Biotechnology, Madrid, and since 2003 at the CNIO.
The main contributions of the Serrano’s laboratory during these years are related to the concept of oncogene-induced senescence and the anti-aging activity of tumor suppressors. More recently, Serrano’s group has reported on the relevance of tumor suppressors in metabolic Syndrome, the existence of senescence during embryonic development, and the feasibility of embryonic reprogramming within alive adult organisms (the latter was considered “Achievement of the Year 2013” in the stem cells field by Nature Medicine). The unifying theme of Manuel Serrano’s research is to understand and manipulate cellular stress responses in relation to cancer and regeneration.
Metabolic Syndrome Group
Group leader: Dr. Pablo José Fernández Marcos
Objectives: metabolic syndrome (MS) is a group of pathologies caused by a prolonged imbalance between energy intake and expenditure, and is strongly related to the degenerative process of aging. The main MS-associated pathologies are obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer, which makes MS one of he main health challenges of developed countries. This research group is focused on the study and development of nutritional interventions to fight MS and aging. More precisely, we are focused on two main research lines: characterization and development of new bioactive products with evidences of metabolic activity, for which no molecular mechanism is yet known; and the study of the beneficial effects and applications of fasting as a powerful nutritional intervention.
For the first line, we will analyze a battery of pure compounds and extracts from different natural sources, and will measure their effects on essential metabolic processes in obesity and diabetes development, such as insulin signaling, mitochondrial activity, the pentose phosphate pathway or brown fat thermogenesis. Once safety and effectivity of these bioactive products are checked on mice, we can start designing nutritional assays on human volunteers, taking advantage ofthe nutrigenomic platform at IMDEA Food. For the second research line, we are currently studying the ability of fasting to enhance anti-cancer chemotherapy treatment, in two ways: first, fasting protects from chemotherapy toxicity; second, fasting potentiates anti-tumor immune responses.
Dr. Pablo José Fernández Marcos
Group leader of the Metabolic Syndrome Group
Dr. Pablo José Fernández Marcos studied Biochemistry in the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. He obtained his PhD in the laboratory of Dr. Manuel Serrano, at the CNIO, for which he obtained the Special PhD Award and published 8 research articles about mouse models of cancer, metabolism and aging in mice. He them moved to the laboratory of Prof. Johan Auwerx, at the EPFL, Switzerland, studying mouse models of metabolic alterations and achieving 5 publications. He returned to the CNIO after two years at the EPFL, where he combined studies on cancer with research on metabolism, publishing 9 new articles. In December 2015, he was appointed Group leader Metabolic Syndrome Group at IMDEA Food, focused on nutritional interventions against obesity, diabetes and cancer. From this standpoint, Dr. Fernández Marcos has participated in several publications about the potential of molecular drugs and fasting to improve metabolic status and to enhance chemotherapy safety and
efficacy. In total, he counts with 29 publications in prestigious journals as Cell, Cancer Cell, Cell Metabolism, Journal of Clinical Investigations, Nature Communications, PNAS or EMBO Journal, 4 of them as co-corresponding author (already from IMDEA Food) and 9 as first author.
Phone: +34 91 727 81 00, ext. 209
Dr. Marta Barradas Solas
Group leader of the Metabolic Syndrome Group
Marta Barradas joined Manuel Serrano’s lab at Centro Nacional de Biotecnología (Madrid) in 1997, where she obtained her PhD in the characterization of Ras-induced senescence in primary cells. In 2003 she moved to UK, where she was working as a postdoctoral researcher in several laboratories. First, in Fiona Watt’s labsa at London Research and Cambridge Research Institutes, studying the role of catenin signalling in skin cancer. Then in 2008, she moved to Jesús Gil’s lab at the MRC-CSC (London), where she studied the interplay between epigenetics and cancer. In 2011 she moved back to Spain to work in the Cell Signalling Therapies lab of EliLilly at Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncológicas, CNIO (Madrid), where she focusedon the validation of new metabolic targets for cancer therapy. After a brief stay in the Brain Metastasis Group at CNIO, in December 2015 she joined the Metabolic Syndrome Group at IMDEA Food Institute.
Phone: +34 91 727 81 00
Luís Filipe Costa Machado
Luís Filipe Costa Machado has a bachelor degree in Pharmacy (2014) and a master’s degree in Biomedical Research (2015) both from the University of Santiago de Compostela. In March 2013, he joined the group of neuropharmacology at the University of Bath (UK) where he worked in a research project focused on the study of the genetic bases of depression.
During the last months of his undergrad, he also worked at the group of Oncology and Cell Cycle at the Center for Molecular Medicine and Chronic Diseases (CIMUS), to study the role of the transcription factor E2F in neuronal stem cells. During his master’s research project, he joined the group of Stem Cells in Cancer and Aging at the Health Research Institute of Santiago de Compostela (IDIS) where he was responsible for the development of high-throughput methods to identify new senescence inducing compounds in tumor cells.
In December 2015, he joined Dr. Pablo Fernández group, as a predoctoral researcher, in order to study new approaches to understand and treat metabolic disorders.
Phone: +34 91 727 81 00
Patricia Agudo García
Sindy Stefany Paz Martínez
Daniel de la Nava Martín
Nutritional Interventions Group
Group leader: Dr. Rafael de Cabo
Objectives: the Nutritional Interventions Group applies the knowledge gained in model organisms to translate nutritional interventions to improve or delay the decline of function that occurs with aging. We utilize whole body physiological and tissue-specific molecular approaches to investigate effects of nutritional interventions on basic mechanisms of aging and age-related diseases.
Dr. Rafael de Cabo
Chief of the Translational Gerontology Branch, National Institute on Aging (NIH) (USA) Associate researcher, IMDEA Food Group leader of the Nutritional Interventions Group
Rafael de Cabo, PhD is currently the chief of the Translational Gerontology Branch at the National Institute on Aging in Baltimore, Maryland. A nativeof Cordoba, Spain, he received his B.S. from the University of Cordoba, and his Ph.D. in 2000 from the Department of Foods and Nutrition at Purdue University. Upon completion of his graduate education, he trained as a postdoctoral fellow in the Laboratory of Neurosciences at the National Institute on Aging in Baltimore, Maryland. In 2004, he was appointed as a tenure track investigator in the Laboratory of Experimental Gerontology. His group applies both physiological and tissue-specific molecular approaches to investigate effects of nutritional interventions on basic mechanisms of aging and age-related diseases. Research within his unit strives to identify protective mechanisms invoked by caloric restriction and to evaluate the consequences of dietary interventions on lifespan, pathology, and behavioral function. Dr. de Cabo’s research balances the exploration of in vivo rodent, as well as in vitro, paradigms of caloric restriction.