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Projects. Life and Matter Sciences

New food-derived bioactive products against obesity and diabetes

Lead Researcher: Pablo José Fernández Marcos
Research Centre: Instituto Madrileño de Estudios Avanzados (IMDEA) en Alimentación. Madrid.


The proposed project will study the potential of food-derived bioactive products (FDBPs) for the prevention and treatment of metabolic syndrome, a poorly developed and very promising field of research. The project has 5 steps, which are not strictly interdependent, with preliminary data and contingency plans to ensure a successful outcome: (1) Setting up biological assays in high throughput format to screen for products impinging on some important metabolic pathways of high relevance for obesity and diabetes. (2) Screening two sets of FDBPs: 1000 pure natural compounds from commercially available libraries; and a library of extracts from medicinal plants of unknown molecular mechanisms of action. We will test these products on our screening systems, to determine their basic metabolic potential. (3) Developing clean, safe and effective preparation methods to obtain extracts from food sources enriched in the active natural compounds. (4) Performing a thorough molecular characterization of the mechanisms of action of the selected food-derived bioactive products using different molecular readouts. (5) Testing these products on mouse models to determine in vivo parameters of the bioactive products of interest, such as safety, effectiveness against metabolic syndrome, etc.

All these data will pave the way to further development of the bioactive products for tests on humans. We anticipate relevant discoveries in the field of food development and global human health, given the alarming increase of metabolic syndrome incidence and the scarcity of ambitious studies on food-derived bioactive products and their potential against this condition.

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