Research Program. Precision Nutrition and Aging

Nutritional Interventions Group

Group leader: Dr. Rafael de Cabo

Objectives: Our group is focused on understanding basic mechanisms underlying aging processes in order to develop and translate interventions aimed to preserve function late in life, to delay the onset of age-related diseases and to improve healthy life expectancy. The Nutritional Interventions Group focuses on energy restriction-based strategies applied to model organisms to decipher variations in energy demands and cellular energetic metabolism, a fundamental hallmark of the aging process

Dr. Rafael de Cabo

Senior investigator of the Experimental Gerontology Section at NIA (NIH-USA) and Program Director of the Precision Nutrition and Aging Program at IMDEA Food.

Rafael de Cabo, PhD is currently the chief of the Translational Gerontology Branch at the National Institute on Aging in Baltimore, Maryland. A native of 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.


Alberto Díaz-Ruiz

Senior Researcher and Head of Research Line in Aging and Longevity

Alberto Diaz-Ruiz is a M. Sc. Veterinary Medicine specialized in the fields of metabolism, obesity, and aging. He received a tenure track position granted by the Madrid Community “Talent Program” competitive call, within the Group of Nutritional Interventions, Precision Nutrition and Aging Program, at IMDEA Food Institute (Madrid). His research focuses on the effects of fasting-mediated nutritional interventions on lifespan and healthspan in mice and humans. By now, ha has co-authored 31 articles in the highest journals of the fields (Cell Stem Cell, Aging Cell, Embo Reports or Diabetes). His academic and research education was carried out in Spain and United States. He obtained his PhD in Sciences in 2011 (University of Cordoba). During his pre-doctoral phase, he was also awarded with two research training fellowships at the Center for Basic Neuroscience (University of Dallas) and the Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology (Stanford University School of Medicine), supervised by Dr. Thomas C. Sudhof, who was awarded with the 2013-Nobel Prize in Medicine. His PhD studies aimed to understand the molecular mechanisms influencing the control of the secretory pathway in endocrine cells. In 2012, he obtained a two-years research associated period funded by a highly competitive grant
(Proyecto de Excelencia, Junta de Andalucía) under the supervision of Dr. Maria del Mar Malagón. During this period, he successfully applied several proteomic methods for the study of human adipose tissue as an endocrine organ which helped to unveil novel factors and pathways underlying the association between obesity and metabolic disease. In 2014, he obtained a 5-years post-doctoral research fellowship under the supervision of Dr. Rafael de Cabo at the National Institute on Aging (NIA, USA). During this period, he successfully integrated genetic, nutritional, and pharmacological interventions that directly target nutrient sensing pathways, aiming to disclose the relevance of metabolic imbalances and deregulated nutrient sensing influencing aging and worldwide metabolic diseases including obesity and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Currently, he is devoted to study how modulation of the daily eating patterns such us the frequency and/or the fasting time, with or without reduction of total intake, influence circulating factors for the control of metabolic pathways, lately influencing health.

Phone: +34 91 727 81 00


most relevant publications
  • De Cabo R. and Diaz-Ruiz A. A Central Role for the Gasotransmitter H2S in Aging. Cell Metab. 2020 Jan 7;31(1):10-12.
  • Castejón M, Plaza A, Martinez-Romero J, Fernandez-Marcos PJ, Cabo R and Diaz-Ruiz A. Energy Restriction and Colorectal Cancer: A Call for Additional Research. Nutrients. 2020 Jan 1;12(1). pii: E114. Review.
  • Diaz-Ruiz A, Di Francesco A, Carboneau BA, Levan SR, Pearson KJ, Price NL, Ward TM, Bernier M, de Cabo R. and Mercken EM. Benefits of Caloric Restriction in Longevity and Chemical-Induced Tumorigenesis Are Transmitted Independent of NQO1. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2019 Jan 16;74(2):155-162.
  • Diaz-Ruiz A, Lanasa M, Garcia J, Mora H, Fan F, Martin-Montalvo A, Di Francesco A, Calvo-Rubio M, Salvador-Pascual A, Aon MA, Fishbein KW, Pearson KJ, Villalba JM, Navas P, Bernier M. and de Cabo R. Overexpression of CYB5R3 and NQO1, two NAD+ -producing enzymes, mimics aspects of caloric restriction. Aging Cell. 2018 Aug;17(4):e12767.
main research grants

Principal Investigator: Alberto Díaz-Ruiz
Project Title: Estrategias alternativas para extender la longevidad y mejorar la calidad de vida: ciclos de ayuno 4:10.
Date: 2019-2022
Funded by: Talento Program Grant, Madrid Regional Government (2018-T1/BMD-11966)