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The CaixaResearch programme supports a biomedical research project of excellence with the participation of IDIBGI

20 September 2022
  • The project, which has received nearly one million euros from the La Caixa Foundation, studies whether the intestinal microbiota influences the loss of control of intake in obesity. The research group on Nutrition, Eumetabolism and Health, led by Dr. José Manuel Fernández-Real and Dra. Anna Castells.
  • The study is led by Dr. Rafael Maldonado from Pompeu Fabra University, and Dr. Raúl Andero from the Autonomous University of Barcelona is also part of the consortium.
  • The CaixaResearch call rewards basic, clinical or translational research initiatives of great excellence and impact on health challenges.

The CaixaResearch call for Health Research 2022 has selected 33 promising new biomedical and health projects at research centres and universities in Spain and Portugal.

A project that explores whether the gut microbiota influences the loss of intake control in obesity has received nearly one million euros from the "la Caixa" Foundation through this programme. The project is led by Rafael Maldonado, from NeuroPhar-MELIS, Pompeu Fabra University (UPF) and is developed in consortium with José Manuel Fernández-Real and Anna Castells, from the Girona Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBGI), and Raul Andero Galí, from the Institute of Neurosciences, Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB).

Dr. Fernández-Real is the head of the Nutrition, Eumetabolism and Health research group at IDIBGI and CIBEROBN, and ICREA researcher, he is also Head of the Endocrinology Section at the Dr. Josep Trueta Hospital in Girona and Professor of Medicine at the University of Girona (UdG).

Does gut microbiota influence loss of intake control in obesity?

Currently, 4 out of 10 people in the world are overweight or obese, two diseases whose incidence is increasing, especially in developed countries, where they are reaching alarming levels and represent a serious public health problem.

These metabolic pathologies are often associated with complex alterations that lead to a loss of behavioural control that promotes weight gain. Therefore, in this project, researchers will study which environmental factors impact on brain function and lead to the loss of appetite control. Specifically, they will focus on epigenetic mechanisms mediated by the gut microbiota.

The results of this project will provide greater insight into these diseases and the role of behaviour, identify new biomarkers that will indicate which people are most at risk of losing appetite control and pave the way for developing new therapies for the treatment of obesity and overweight, as well as eating disorders.

About the CaixaResearch Call for Research in Health 2022

The aim of the call, to which 546 proposals were submitted this year, is to identify and promote initiatives of great scientific excellence and with the greatest potential value and social impact, in basic, clinical, translational and innovation research. Specifically, all of them are aimed at tackling challenging areas of health, such as infectious diseases, neurosciences, oncology, and cardiovascular and related metabolic diseases. Several of the winning initiatives will develop biomedical technologies to address some of these health challenges.

In this way, the "la Caixa" Foundation reaffirms its support for projects of excellence that can have a positive impact on the health of citizens. To this end, the institution is providing a total of 23.1 million euros for these projects - 20 of which are Spanish and 13 Portuguese - to be developed over the next three years.


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