• Contact mail:,
  • Group leader: Virginia García-Cañas

Virginia Garcia (l) and Carolina Simo (r)

Group members

Research Staff

  • Virginia García Cañas (Tenured Scientist)
  • Carolina Simó Ruiz (Tenured Scientist)

Research summary

At present, the effects of food on health and disease cannot be understood without deep knowing on how these components work at a molecular level.

The Molecular Nutrition and Metabolism Group aims:

  1. To study the biological activity and metabolism of foods and their constituents in different physiological and pathological conditions.
  2. To elucidate changes in metabolism and underlying molecular mechanisms of bioactive food components.

Our main research line is the study of the influence certain constituents from diet in the gut microbiota function and their impact in atherosclerosis and related diseases.

For the development of our activities we employ in vitro and ex vivo methodologies, molecular biology techniques, and high throughput omics technologies (genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics).

Highlight Publications

  • Acunha, V. García*, A. Valdés, A. Cifuentes, C. Simó,*. Metabolomics study of early metabolic changes in hepatic HepaRG cells in response to rosemary diterpenes exposure. Analitica Chimica Acta 2018. On line:
  • García-Cañas, C. Simó*. CE-MS for metabolomics: A focus on sample preparation. In Capillary electrophoresis-mass spectrometry for metabolomics. R. Ramautar., Ed.; Royal Society of Chemistry: Cambridge, 2018. ISBN: 978-1-78801-104-4.
  • Valdés, V. García-Cañas*, K.A. Artemenko, J. Bergquist*, A. Cifuentes. Nano-liquid chromatography-Orbitrap MS-based quantitative proteomics reveals differences between the mechanisms of action of carnosic acid and carnosol in colon cancer cells. Molecular and Cellular Proteomics, 2017, 16:8-22. DOI: 10.1074/mcp.M116.061481.
  • Valdés, K. Artemenko, J. Bergquist*, V. García-Cañas*, Cifuentes. Comprehensive Proteomic Study of the Antiproliferative Activity of a Polyphenol-Enriched Rosemary Extract on Colon Cancer Cells Using Nanoliquid Chromatography-Orbitrap MS/MS. Journal Proteome Research 2016, 15: 1971-1985. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jproteome.6b00154.
  • Valdés, C. Simó, C. Ibáñez, V. García-Cañas*. Emerging RNA-seq applications in Food Science in Applications of Advanced Omics Technologies: From Genes to Metabolites. Elsevier, Amsterdam. 2014. ISBN: 978-0-444-62650-9. Chapter PDF.
  • Ibáñez, V. García-Cañas, A. Valdés, C. Simó*. Direct mass spectrometry-based approaches in metabolomics in Fundamentals of Advanced Omics Technologies: From Genes to Metabolites. Elsevier, Amsterdam. 2014. ISBN: 978-0-444-62651-6. Chapter PDF.

Recent Research Projects

  • Research on new food ingredients with modulating activity of gut microbial metabolism related with atherosclerosis development
    • Principal investigators: Virginia García y Carolina Simó
    • Funding body and reference: MINECO, AGL2017-89055-R.
    • Duration: 2018-2020

The main aim of this project is to study the relationships among the genetic determinants of trimethylamine (TMA) producing microbiota and host trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) levels in individuals with atherosclerosis and to explore new sources of bioactive food compounds to reduce TMA production.