Research Program. Precision Nutrition and
Cardiometabolic Health

Director: Prof. Alfredo Martínez Hernández

Objectives:  this PRECISION Program (Personalized Related Energomics and Cardiometabolomics:
interactions Involving Inheritance Obesity and Nutrition) is focused on:

  • Optimize and appraise available resources and databases from Diogenes; Nugenob, Predimed, Worldmethylepigenome and Preview cohorts to better understand genetic and epigenetic outcomes involved in obesity and cardiometabolic adverse traits.
  • Analyze and implement newer metabolic biomarkers with diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutical potential value including the design and definition of Precision Nutrition guidelines.
  • Investigate with global perspectives the interactions including shared mechanisms and triggering common physiopathological pathways among obesity with liver disease and cancer.
  • Integration of nutriomics and metagenomics approaches to understand the phenotipical interactions and responses to specific nutrients and diets involving nutrigenetic and nutrigenomic outcomes.

Cardiometabolic Nutrition Group

Group leader: Prof. Alfredo Martínez Hernández

Objectives: observational, cross-sectional and longitudinal studies have evidenced that obesity rates and
associated complications such as type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemia, liver steatosis and cardiovascular events
are continuously rising as a health burden with increasing costs. In this context, subjects elicit variable
responses to the dietary intake depending on phenotypical and genotypical factors whose understanding
is helping to provide Precision Nutrition management.

Nutriomics offer a huge prospect to feature and assess the variety in the reactions to diverse nutritional therapies as well as for medical applications. Research on candidate genes together with Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS) and meta-analyses of GWAS have characterized a number of polymorphisms associated with cardiometabolic and liver related adverse features, while nutrigenetics is involved in the recognition of genediet interactions, putatively explaining phenotypical differences accompanying food and dietary consumption.

In addition to discover differences associated to the genetic make-up, transcriptomic strategies measuring mRNAs levels have found that the energy intake plus nutrient contents and quality could affect the expression of genes involved in fuel intermediate metabolism, insulin signalling, lipid turnover, and inflammation in different organs and cells such as liver and adipose tissue . Further studies have revealed the occurrence of epigenetic processes (mainly DNA methylation, covalent histone modifications and miRNAs) that may modulate gene functions and participate in nutrition-related diseases and personalized differences.

The investigation of newer metabolomic biomarkers is essential to progress in the evaluation of patient’s metabolic dysfunctions and unhealthy conditions, which will enable to better define health and disease statuses and discriminate responders from non-responders to a given nutritional prescription. Also, metagenomics researches have demonstrated that lifestyle factors such as diet or physical activity can impact intestinal microbiota composition, with possible influence in body weight homeostasis/maintenance, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular or liver diseases. Integration in the near future of omics data into Precision Nutrition will allow the implementation of personalised nutritional treatments to prevent and manage chronic diseases and to monitor the individual’s response to novel therapeutical interventions.

Prof. Alfredo Martínez Hernández

Director of the Nutrition Research Center, University of Navarra Professor of Nutrition, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Navarra Associate researcher, IMDEA Food Director of the Precision Nutrition and Cardiometabolic Health Program and Group leader of the Cardiometabolic Nutrition Group

Prof J.Alfredo Martínez holds a PhD Nutrition being also PharmD and MD. He is coIP and has been  involved in several landmark intervention trials such as DIOGENES, SEAFOODplus, NUGENOB, FOOD4ME, PREDIMED and PREVIEW, whose results have been published in the most relevant medical and nutritional journals including NEJM, Lancet, Nature, BMJ, AJCN, Obesity, IJO, JCEM, Diabetology, Trends in Immunology, TIPS, IJO, Cell Metabolism Circulation, etc producing so far more than 20.000 citations. Prof. Martínez has supervised more than seventy PhD students and published more than 600 peer review papers in the areas of Obesity and Nutrition, including precision nutritional omics (H Factor > 60); He has en president of FESNAD and is currently president of ISNN as well as president elect of the International Union of Nutritional Sciences (IUNS) and has been recipient of several important awards including ipocrates and Dupont prizes. During his scientific career, Prof. J. Alfredo Martínez has enjoyed training or invited stays at Nothingham, Berkeley, MIT, Harvard, Oxford and King College London as well as being reviewer for different EU Committees and Spanish Organizations such as AECOSAN.

Phone: +34 91 727 81 00, ext. 211

Bioactive Ingredients Food Group

Group leader: Prof. Francesco Visioli

Objectives: the Bioactive Ingredients Food Group is being developing a Ministry of Innovation (MICINN) – funded study on the effects of selected phospholipids in models of aging and cognitive decline. In particular, the group is investigating the nutrigenomic effects of phospholipids isolated from buttermilk and krill oil, via innovative technologies developed in the CIAL (UAM + CSIC Madrid campus). Aging represents an important socio-economic issue, in that the European population is rapidly aging and the health care costs associated with this demographic phenomenon are becoming unbearable. Therefore, there is a strong need to find suitable and effective preventive measures, to lessen the burden of disease and decrease budgetary stress. In particular, aging is associated with cognitive decline, which can become severe and develop into dementia and/or Alzheimer’s disease.

Given than the brain is the organ richest in lipids (up to 40% in weight), the LabFun thinks it conceivable to supply appropriate phospholipids to maintain and/or restore proper membrane composition, fluidity, and signal transduction. The preliminary results do demonstrate the provision of food-derived phospholipids (formulated through original techniques) are able to ameliorate the synaptic machinery and restore adequate mitochondrial function. The group employs in vitro and in vivo (including human) approaches to create strong and solid scientific data and foster the formulation of evidence-based nutraceuticals and functional foods. In addition, the group keeps publishing the results of former projects along with reviews on specific topics, therefore enjoying a strong publication record.



Laura Costoso
León Gema Bastante del Palacio
Jorge Llanos Garrido
María Trapero Ruiz
Beatriz Castro Meco
Sara Rollan Esteban

Epigenetics of Lipid Metabolism Group

Group leader: Dr. Alberto Dávalos Herrera

Objectives: cardiometabolic diseases are the main causes of mortality in the world and excess in the diet is one of the main causes of these human diseases linked to our modern life-style. The objective is to understand how different non-coding RNAs regulate lipid metabolism during states of health and disease, developing new strategies, both pharmacological and dietetic, to modulate their function. Pharmacological or dietary modulation of the activity of non-coding RNAs that, ultimately, regulate the metabolism of lipids lead to the prevention or treatment of cardiometabolic diseases. The increasing prevalence of chronic diseases has prompted a strategic focus on prevention strategies. While Precision (personalized) Medicine strives to provide ‘the right therapeutic strategy for the right person at the right time’ a distinct approach is needed for disease prevention.

Epigenetics of Lipid Metabolism Group also focus on understanding lifestyle modification of the pigenome in order to try to personalize the health of individuals using epigenetics for the development of Precision Nutrition. This group works to generate new basic knowledge of how non-coding RNAs regulate the metabolism of lipids under physiological and pathological conditions. To find and evaluate minor dietary components for their ability to modulate the activity of non-coding RNAs associated with the metabolism of lipids.

To carry out collaborative projects with the food and pharmaceutical industry to test and develop new dietary supplements or functional foods based on solid scientific knowledge to prevent or treat a variety of lipid metabolism disorders. And, to incorporate the use non-coding RNAs data to develop Precision Nutrition. In this endeavor, the group actively collaborate with many international research groups located at the following institutions: CINVESTAV (Mérida, Mexico), URFJ (Rio de Janeiro, Brasil), IMSERM UMR1011 (Lille, France) and many other national research groups. 


Visiting researches

Visiting researches:
Flavia Brasil Spreafico
University of Rio de Janeiro


Yolanda Molero Miguel
Ainoa Gómez Díaz