Research Program. Precision Nutrition and Aging

Hepatic Regenerative Medicine Group

Group leader: Dr. Manuel Alejandro Fernandez Rojo

Objectives: The research conducted in the Hepatic Regenerative Medicine Group aims to restore the regenerative capacity of the liver in pathophysiological conditions such diabetes and chronic liver diseases. Within this aim we address non-invasive interventions to improve the treatment of chronic liver diseases and liver cancer by formulating novel diet-modifications. This includes nutritional approaches that promotes or represses therapeutic and deleterious proliferation of liver cells in cases of livingdonor liver transplantation or after surgical removal of liver tumors, respectively. Our goal will be achieved using molecular, metabolism and cell biology examination on in vitro and in vivo experimental models of human liver diseases.

Dr. Manuel Alejandro Fernández Rojo

Group leader of the Hepatic Regenerative Medicine Group

Dr. Manuel A. Fernandez Rojo joined IMDEA-Food Institute in April 2017 as a “TALENTO” Fellow within the recruitment program for outstanding researchers by the Madrid Region Government. Since then, Manuel is leading the Hepatic Regenerative Medicine Group in order to design novel diet-interventions, compounds and molecular mechanism that either promote the regenerative capacity of the liver or prevent the progression of hepatic carcinogenesis Manuel obtained his degree in Biology and his PhD in Cell Biology in the IDIBAPS Institute/Faculty of Medicine at the University of Barcelona. Afterwards, he moved to Australia to continue his work in Caveolins, metabolism, liver regeneration, insulin resistance and hepatocarcinogenesis in Rob Parton’s lab in the Institute for Molecular Bioscience (The University of Queensland) and in Prof. Tiganis’ laboratory (Monash University, Melbourne). Then, he returned to Brisbane and worked in the Hepatic Fibrosis group leaded by Prof. Grant Ramm at the QIMR Berghofer exploring the involvement of the hepatic stellate cells on liver inflammation during the progression of chronic liver diseases. Manuel’s outstanding research has been recognized with the Margalef Award, the Spanish Government postdoctoral fellowship, several grants from very competitive Australia funding bodies and he is co-author in a patent. He has also built a large network of Australian, European and American collaborators that allows him to perform multidisciplinary projects to answer fundamental questions underlying the development of novel
conceptual paradigms in liver research.

Tlf. + 34 91 727 81 00 Ext: 208


Dr. María Ikonomopoulou

Senior researcher and Head of Research Line in Translational Venomics

Dr. Ikonomopoulou is a Senior Research TALENTO Fellow (Program of excellence in research by the Madrid Government), who returned to Europe in 2017 as a “Marie Curie” AMAROUT Fellow to lead the “Translational Venomics” Project. After being awarded her PhD in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Queensland in Australia, Maria found her research niche in “Venomics” and drug discovery. Her primary focus lies on the identification, characterization & development of anticancer, anti- aging, senolytic and immunomodulatory bioactive compounds. For this, Maria utilizes cell and molecular biology, mouse and zebrafish experimental models, medicinal chemistry, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and structure-activity relationship to reveal and modify the amino acid domains and the structural conformations responsible for the therapeutic activity of venom compounds. Maria is working to build a large and diverse animal venom biobank for therapeutic purposes. Maria ́s innovative research has attracted the Biopharma industry, national and international collabora- tions and received international media attention.

Phone: +34 91 727 81 00 


most relevant publications
  • Marta Novelle, Susana Bravo, Maxime Deshons, Cristina Iglesias, Maria Garcia-Vence, Rebecca Annells, Natalia Lima, Ruben Nogueiras, Manuel A. Fernandez-Rojo*, Carlos Dieguez, Amparo Romero-Pico. Silencing liver glucose transporter-8 ameliorates fructose-induced inflammation and promotes omega-oxidation. iScience. In Press.

    - Ishikawa M*, Brooks AJ*, Fernández-Rojo MA*, Medina J, Chhabra Y, Minami S, Tunny KA, Parton RG, Vivian JP, Rossjohn J, Chikani V, Ramm GA, Ho KKY, Waters MJ. Growth hormone stops excessive inflammation after partial hepatectomy allowing liver regeneration and survival via induction of H2-Bl/HLA-G. Hepatology. 2020 April 27. Impact factor 14.079. *First Co-authors equally contributing to this study.

    Calvopina DA, Chatfield MD, Weis A, Coleman MA, Fernandez-Rojo MA, Noble C, Ramm LE, Leung DH, Lewindon PJ, Ramm GA. miRNA-Seq identifies a serum miRNA panel, which combined with APRI constitutes a new tool to detect and monitor liver disease in paediatric cystic fibrosis. Hepatology Dec;68(6):2301-2316. 2018.

    Fernandez-Rojo MA* and Ramm GA. Caveolin-1 in hepatocyte biology in liver physiology and disease. Invited Review by Trends in Molecular Medicine 2016. Oct:22(10):889-904. *Corresponding author. Impact factor: 11.099

    Fernandez-Rojo MA* and Ramm GA. Filling the gap on Caveolin-1 in liver cancer. Invited Review by Trends in Cancer 2016. Vol. 2, Issue 12, p701–705. *Corresponding author: Impact factor: 8.884

main research grants

• Talento Program Grant, Madrid Gov (2020-5A_BIO-19724), 2021-2022


•  Garantia Juvenil funding-Postdoc researchers, Gov. of the Comunidad de Madrid PD2019/019_PEJD-2019-POST/BMD-14722, 2019


• Talento Program Grant, Madrid Gov. (T1-BIO-1854), 2017-2021


• NHMRC Grant (APP1124026), Australia, (As Co-Investigator B), 2017-2020


• NHMRC Grant (APP1142394), Australia, (As associated investigator), 2018-2020