Tailored Carbohydrate Quality for Personalized Weight Management and Metabolic Health

This project will investigate the role of carbohydrate quality (CQ) on weight management, appetite and cardiometabolic health in humans as well as underlying mechanisms by which CQ affects consumers. It will also promote career development and mobility of Early Career Scientists (ECS) to foster the new generation of scientists in food and health. Experimental models, clinical approaches and OMICs will be used in a multidisciplinary setting. Results will be transferred to industry and disseminated to the scientific community and general public. We will take advantage of the data and samples from large weight-loss study conducted earlier in collaboration with Agrifood industry, outside the current collaboration, showing interesting effects on weight-management of a high-cereal fibre vs refined cereal diet.

In summary, we will exploit (i) metabolomics to discover biomarker panels that can predict tailored advice on high-fibre diets for successful weight-loss (personalized nutrition), (ii) mechanistic studies to identify molecular mechanisms evoked by carbohydrates and (iii) the relationship between perceived satiety and food structure. Results are expected to translate into improved high-fibre cereal foods tailored for optimal metabolic health and weight management for individuals or consumer groups.

Partner organizations

  • Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute IDIBELL (Research Institute, Spain)
  • University of Hohenheim (Academic, Germany)
  • Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) (Academic, Sweden)
  • University of Turin (Academic, Italy)
  • Karolinska Institutet (Academic, Sweden)
  • University of Barcelona (Academic, Spain)
  • Uppsala University (Academic, Sweden)
Start date 01/12/2019
End date 30/11/2022
Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden (participants listed above)
For questions please email Patricia Lopez-Sanchez (Project Manager)

Universita degli Studi di Torino, Italy
For questions please email Massimo Collino (Principal Investigator)

Massimo Collino
Chiara Cordero
Erica Liberto
Manuela Aragno
Raffaella Mastrocola

University of Barcelona, Spain

​Cristina Andres-Lacueva Cristina Andres-Lacueva
Associate Professor of the Department of Nutrition and Food Science
Email: candres@ub.edu

She leads the Biomarkers & Nutritional and Food Metabolomics Group, with Quality Certification from Generalitat de Catalunya as Research Group (Ref.: 2014 SGR 1566), at the UB (www.nutrimetabolomics.com), which focuses its research on the analysis of polyphenols and other bioactive compounds in food, the evaluation of their bioavailability in animals and humans, the characterization of their metabolism in the gastrointestinal tract, the role of microbiota, the identification of their metabolites in body fluids and biological tissues, and the response in the human metabolism using molecular markers. Member of the NUGO EU association.
In 1998 she obtained her PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Barcelona. She did her postdoctoral research at the Neuroscience Laboratory of the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (Tufts University, Boston, USA) with the Jim Joseph research group. She has also worked at the Istituto Agrario di San Michele all’Adige (Italy), the Human Nutrition Research Centre of Clermont-Ferrand (France), and the Institute of Gerontology and Geriatrics, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Perugia University Medical School in Italy. In the last 6 years, she has published over 80 indexed research articles and 12 book chapters.
Her main research activity is focused on the development of new nutritional biomarkers and biomarkers of disease risk based on studies of the bioavailability of polyphenols, and on bioactive compounds which can be found as functional ingredients or as natural compounds of food and drink. The methodology applied is based on targeted and/or non-targeted studies using a metabolomic approach (LC-MS/MS, OrbiTrap, RMN).
Dr Cristina Andres-Lacueva conducts research into the role of diet in the development of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases, with a particular interest in Mediterranean diet. The research focuses on dietary patterns, foods and specific dietary components, for example from grape, wine, nuts, olive oil, cocoa, berries, using both reported intakes and biomarkers, and is based on large-scale cohort studies and dietary intervention studies. Current funding is focused on identifying robust, sensitive and reliable biomarkers, based on their bioavailability, activity and relationship with the intake of some foods (markers of consumption), and on understanding their association with obesity, aging and the reduction of cardiovascular risk (markers of effect).​

Tomás Meroño

Tomás Meroño
Postdoctoral Researcher
Email: tomasmerono@ub.edu
Tomás graduated in Biochemistry in 2008 from the Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina and obtained his doctorate degree in 2015 from the same institution. His PhD thesis, awarded with the Summa Cum Laude distinction, focused on the study of markers of inflammation, oxidative stress and cardiovascular disease in patients with iron metabolism disorders. As part of his PhD project, Tomás did a 3-months stay in the UMRS 939, University of Pierre and Marie Curie-Paris 6, AP-HP, Groupe hospitalier Pitié-Salpétrière, INSERM under the direction of Dr. Anatol Kontush in Paris, France.
During his academic career, he was awarded two predoctoral scholarships from CONICET (2009-2013) and one from the Ministerio de Salud, Argentina (2014-2015). He received two grants (2014 and 2017) as novel Principal Investigator from the Fundación “Alberto J Roemmers” for his research projects in childhood obesity.
Tomás got a certification in University Teaching from the Facultad de Farmacia y Bioquímica, Universidad de Buenos Aires (2013-2014). Besides his teaching in the grade careers of Medicine and Biochemistry, Tomás collaborated in 3 specialization careers for Medical Doctors (Universidad de Buenos Aires and Universidad Nacional de San Martín, Argentina) and 2 specialization careers in Clinical Biochemistry (Universidad de Buenos Aires, Universidad Nacional de Tucumán, Argentina). His teaching areas included clinical laboratory sciences, metabolism, nutrition-health interactions, biostatistics and epidemiology. Tomás directed 2 thesis to obtain the Specialist diploma in Clinical Biochemistry, Universidad de Buenos Aires, and 1 thesis to obtain a Medical Master Degree in Diabetes, Universidad de Favaloro.
Currently Tomás is a postdoctoral researcher with a Juan de la Cierva Incorporación (MICINN) contract in the “Biomarkers and Nutritional & Food Metabolomics” research group, focusing his research on metabolomics and cardiometabolic risk.
Andrea Union Caballero

​Andrea Union Caballero has recently joined the “Biomarkers and Nutritional & Food Metabolomics” group as a PhD student, where her research is focused on metabolomics and cardiometabolic risk. She holds a Biochemistry degree (2018) and a MSc in New Food Development (2019), both from Autonomous University of Madrid. During her master´s her research was focused on the enzymatic production of omega-3 enriched bioactive lipids from microalgae oil. Later, she completed a fellowship at TNO (Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research), where she specifically worked with in vitro experimental platforms for microbiome studying in relation to target groups following different type of diets.
Alexandre Sánchez Plá

Alexandre Sánchez Plá
Associate Professor of Statistics
Statistics Department University of Barcelona

Dr Plá graduated in Biology (1980) and obtained a Ph.D. in Statistics (1996), at the program of Probability and Statistics, Universitat de Barcelona. He studied mathematics at the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED) and obtained a Master in Bioinformatics (2005) by the University of Manchester.

Dr. Plá is also the Head of the Statistics and Bioinformatics Unit (UEB) of the Research Institute “Vall d’Hebron Institut de Recerca” and a member of several scientific societies and have served as president of the Spanish Region of the International Biometric Society.
His research interest lies in the interface between Statistics and Bioinformatics. Specifically, Dr. Plá is interested at developing and applying methods and tools for the integrative analysis of Omics data. He participates in collaborative researchs in biomedical studies in neurosciences, immunology, oncology and nutrition and metabolomics. He leads the group of the Statistics and Bioinformatics Research Group now embedded in the GRBio (Research Group in Biostatistics and Bioinformatics) UPC-UB group.
Dr. Plá teaching activities are also related with these disciplines. He teaches Advanced Statistical Inference at the Msc of Statistics and Operations Research (UB-UPC), and Omics Data Analysis at the same master. Also, he is currently University of Barcelona coordinator of the joint UOC-UB online Msc of Bionformatics and Biostatistics.

Swedish University for Agricultural Sciences SLU, Sweden
Maud Langton
Daniel Johansson

Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute IDIBELL, Spain
Raul Zamora-Ros

​Raul Zamora-Ros
ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-6236-6804
E-mail: rzamora@idibell.cat

Raul Zamora-Ros qualified in both Nutrition and Food Science and also obtained a master on Statistics and Epidemiology. He earned his Doctorate from the University of Barcelona in 2008. He did his PostDoc at the IDIBELL, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the University of Cambridge, before joining his current position as principal investigator at the Unit of Nutrition and Cancer. He is interested in whether dietary factors, particularly polyphenols and polyphenol-rich foods, are causally associated with the development of chronic diseases, especially cancer. He has published over 100 peer-review articles and above 10 book chapters in his area.

Enrique Almanza Aguilera holds an Agro-industrial Engineering degree (2008), a MSc in Food Science and Technology (2011), and a PhD in Food and Nutrition (2017). During his PhD studies in the Biomarkers and Nutritional & Food Metabolomics research group (University of Barcelona) his research focused on the study of NMR-based metabolomic biomarkers of Mediterranean diet and metabolic health. During his PhD formation Enrique did a research stay at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences developing processing and statistical analysis of metabolomics data. After obtain his PhD degree he occupied a postdoctoral position at the Cardiovascular and Nutrition research group in the Hospital del Mar Institute for Medical Research-IMIM (Barcelona, 2018-2020), and performed a research stay at the Edmund Mach Foundation-FEM (Italy, 2019). At IMIM Enrique investigated the modulating effect of the Mediterranean diet and type 2 diabetes mellitus on the transcriptome of peripheral blood mononuclear cells, and in FEM he studied the urinary metabolome biomarkers resulting from the intake of functional foods. Currently Enrique occupies a postdoctoral position in the Unit of Nutrition and Cancer at the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute-IDIBELL, where his main research activities include the study metabolomic and proteomic phenotypes associated to weight and fat mass changes, as well as to prostate cancer incidence and severity in cohort studies.​

​Izar de Villasante holds a Msc in Bioinformatics and Bsc in Biotechnology. His main interests are statistical inference and  machine learning applied to clinical research. He is specialized in cancer and molecular biology and have some expirience with digital analysis applied to pathology and neurosciences.
He is currently employed by IDIBELL as Bioinformatics technician in the Unit of Nutrition Enviroment and Cancer (UNAC) in Bellvitge. His main duties here are to give support in statistics to the team and produce code, mostly in R in order to provide the best solutions and tools for  scientific discovery. Common tasks here involve managing big data from multiple origins (proteomics, metabolomics, genomics...) and extract useful knowledge for clinical research.
The main scientific activities focus on epidemiology, cancer biology and nutrition.

University of Hohenheim, Germany

Jan Frank, Ph.D.
Professor of Food Biofunctionality
Institute of Nutritional Sciences
University of Hohenheim
Nutrition research website

Professor Frank graduated with a Diploma in Nutrition from Bonn University (2000), obtained a PhD in Food Science at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (2004), and received postdoctoral training at the Universities of Kiel and Hohenheim. He was a visiting scientist at the Linus Pauling Institute (USA), the University of Reading (UK) and the University of Surrey (UK).
Dr Frank was appointed Professor of Human Metabolomics at the Institute of Nutritional and Food Sciences at the University of Bonn in 2012 and, in 2013, Full Professor and head of the Department of Food Biofunctionality at the Institute of Nutritional Sciences and, in 2018, Vice Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences at the University of Hohenheim.
He is president of the Society of Nutrition and Food Science and editor-in-chief of NFS Journal, associate editor of Nutrition, and member of the editorial boards of The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, BioFactors, and Plant Foods for Human Nutrition.
His research interests lie in processes and factors that determine the absorption, metabolism, and elimination of phytochemicals and different vitamin E congeners and in particular the long-chain vitamin E metabolites. Dr. Frank and his team examine novel strategies to overcome the low intrinsic oral bioavailability of phytochemicals and investigate their biological activities. A recent research interest of the group is the importance of carbohydrate quality on intestinal barrier function and cardiometabolic health.

Fidèle El Masri, M.Sc.
Ph.D. student

Nadine Sus

Alicja Wolk
Karl Michaelsson

Lantmannen, Sweden
Karin Arkbåge

Funded by

  • Formas (Public, Sweden)
​Upcoming and past conferences

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Page manager Published: Fri 16 Jul 2021.