Group members

Research Staff

  • Rosina López-Fandiño. Research Professor
  • Elena Molina Hernández. Senior Scientist

Postdoctoral Staff

  • Sara Benedé Pérez. Postdoctoral contract researcher
  • Daniel Lozano Ojalvo. Postdoctoral contract of Talent Attraction of the Community of Madrid

Predoctoral Staff

  • Leticia Pérez Rodríguez. Contracted FPU
  • David Menchén Martínez. Contracted FPI
  • Noelia Jurado Chivato. Predoctoral fellow
  • Sara López. JAE-Intro Fellow

Research Summary

The group studies the role of proteins as food allergens. The prevalence of food allergy has been steadily increasing during the last decades in developed countries, where it is considered a serious public health problem affecting 3-6% of children and having a tremendous and negative impact on quality of life. We investigate the reason why some proteins behave as allergens and the influence exerted by the food matrix, environmental factors and food processing to understand the cause of this increased incidence and to develop methods to treat and prevent these diseases.

Our research lines are:

  • Molecular basis of protein allergenicity. Study of the structure and susceptibility to hydrolysis of food allergens, paying attention to the influence of the food matrix and processing, in order to understand the mechanisms involved in the processes of sensitization, triggering of anaphylaxis and induction of tolerance.
  • Production of hypoallergenic functional hydrolysates by means of new technologies.
  • Digestibility of milk and egg proteins and its impact on the allergenicity of the intact protein and the resulting hydrolysates. Mechanisms involved in the allergic response.
  • Characterization and properties of technological and biological interest of peptides derived from milk and egg proteins. Antihypertensive, antioxidant and immunomodulant activities.
  • Development of new food preservation technologies. Treatment of milk with high pressure: applications in the improvement of shelf life and technological suitability of milk.
  • Use of new technologies to improve the functional properties of dairy and soy products. Use of milk treated with high pressure for the production of low-fat cheeses. Revaluation of milk proteins.
  • Development of advanced analytical techniques for food characterization and fraud detection. Investigation of the adulteration of drinking milk with cheese whey. Investigation of the adulteration of milk and dairy products with vegetable proteins.
  • Study of proteolysis as a quality index of UHT milk. Effect of milk composition, type of processing and storage conditions. Sensory analysis of foods. Formation of tasting panels. Sensory testing.
  • Development of new technologies based on the use of enzymes to enhance food flavor.

Outstanding recent publications

  • BENEDÉ, S., LOZANO-OJALVO, D., S. CRISTOBAL, J. COSTA, E. D’AURIA, T. CIRKOVIC-VELIKOVIC, M. GARRIDO-ARADIA, S. KARAKAYA, I. MAFRA, G. MAZZUCHELLI, G. PICARIELLO, A. ROMERO-SAHAGUN, C. VILLA, P. RONCADA, MOLINA, E. (2021) New applications of advanced instrumental techniques for the characterization of food allergenic proteins. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. DOI:10.1080/10408398.2021.1931806.
  • BENEDÉ, S., PÉREZ-RODRÍGUEZ, L., MARTÍNEZ-BLANCO, M., MOLINA, E., LÓPEZ-FANDIÑO, R. (2021). Oral exposure to house dust mite activates intestinal innate immunity. Foods 10 (3): 561.
  • COSTA, J., VILLA, C., VERHOECKX, K., CIRKOVIC-VELIIKOVIC, T., SCHRAMA, D., RONCADA, P., RODRIGUES, P., PIRAS, C., MARTÍN-PEDRAZA, L., MONACI, L., MOLINA, E., MAZZUCHELI, G., MAFRA, I., LUPI, R., LOZANO-OJALVO, D., LARRÉ, C., KLUEBER, J., GLENCSER, E., BUENO-DÍAZ, C., DÍAZ-PERALES, A., BENEDÉ, S., BAVARO, S., KUEHN, A., HOFFMANN-SOMMERGRUBER, K., HOLZHAUSER, T. (2021). Are physicochemical properties shaping the allergenic potency of animal allergens? Clin Rev Allergy Immunol. DOI: 10.1007/s12016-020-08826-1.
  • PÉREZ-RODRÍGUEZ, L., MÓNICA MARTÍNEZ-BLANCO, DANIEL LOZANO-OJALVO, JAVIER FONTECHA, ELENA MOLINA, SARA BENEDÉ, ROSINA LÓPEZ-FANDIÑO (2021). Triacylgycerides and phospholipids from egg yolk differently influence the immunostimulating properties of egg white proteins. Nutrients, 13(10): 3301.
  • M. MARTÍNEZ-BLANCO, L. PÉREZ-RODRÍGUEZ, D. LOZANO-OJALVO, E. MOLINA, R. LÓPEZ-FANDIÑO. Ovalbumin-Derived Peptides Activate Retinoic Acid Signalling Pathways and Induce Regulatory Responses Through Toll-Like Receptor Interactions. Nutrients, 2020, 12, 831.

Recent Research Projects

Development of a hypoallergenic and sensorially attractive egg white hydrolysate for the early introduction of this food allergen in the infant diet.

  • Researchers in charge: Elena Molina and Rosina López-Fandiño.
  • Reference: PDC2021-121318-I0
  • Funding Agency: MICINN
  • Duration: 2011-2023

Immunomodulatory peptides derived from egg proteins and symbiotics for the treatment of egg allergy or multiple allergies (ALERBIOT).

  • Researchers in charge: Rosina López-Fandiño and Elena Molina.
  • Reference: AGL2017-88964-R.
  • Funding Agency: MICINN
  • Duration: 2011-2023

Food: opportunities and challenges in a global and sustainable context for Latin America and the Caribbean.

  • Coordinator: Elena Molina
  • Reference: INTER200003
  • Funding Agency: CSIC and AECID
  • Duration: 2019-2021