Profile. Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Nutririon and Biotecnology.
The Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Nutrition, and Biotechnology (LBNB) of the University of the Balearic Islands (UIB), directed by Professor Andreu Palou, has a long experience in research, management of EU projects, both as partner and as coordinator, on innovation and technology transfer.
Research in the LBNB is focused on the molecular bases of body weight control and its alterations (obesity and related clinical complications), with emphasis on the potential of nutrients and bioactive compounds on gene regulation. This is a subject of extensive research that includes aspects such as control of appetite, energy efficiency and adaptive thermogenesis; the control of preadipocyte proliferation and its differentiation into adipocytes (adipogenesis), the connections between excess adiposity and metabolic complications, and the genetics, epigenetics and nutrigenomics of the adiposity control.
Concerning management skills, Prof. Palou is a worldwide mentor in topics related with functional food and nutrigenomics. He is endorsed by cutting-edge basic research (more than 400 scientific papers, including the best international journals in his field; H-index 46), applied research and specialized consultancy (5 patents and more than 50 contracts with private companies –including main multinational enterprises in the agro-food sector- during the last 15 years). He has continuously coordinated and developed prestigious projects, both National and European (the most recent one finalized: BIOCLAIMS,http://bioclaims.uib.eu/). The team belongs to the Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red (CIBER-Obn), a consortium made of 33 national work groups of proven scientific excellence and focuses its research on the study of obesity, nutrition and physical exercise, that depends on the Instituto de Salud Carlos III (Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness). Since its foundation in 2006, the team remains in the first grid of classification (group of excellence) throughout the evaluations to which it has been subjected annually. Finally and as a summary of his recognised excellence, Prof Palou has been member of the Scientific Committee on Food (1997-2002; vice-chair 2000-2002), vice-chair of the Scientific Panel on Nutrition (NDA, Nutrition, dietetic food and allergies) of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) (2002-2009) and President of the Scientific Committee of the Spanish Food Safety and Nutrition Agency (2003-2010). Recognition of his successful trajectory is reflected with the awarding of the prizes Hipócrates 2007 (Universidad de Navarra 2011), SEEDO 2011 and Dupont 2013, among others (see http://palou.uib.es/).
Regarding aspects on innovation and technology transfer, the laboratory seeks to enhance the identification of results amenable to intellectual property protection, opportunities for transfer of knowledge to the productive sector, and the optimization of the management of intellectual property issues, encouraging RDI investment and development in the functional food sector. For these aspects the team relies on close links with the technology-based company Alimentómica, promoted by the applicants group. Alimentómica SL (www.alimentomica.com) is a private company, first start-up/spin-off of technological basis (number 001) participated (10%) by UIB. Alimentómica focuses its activity on the R+D+I of new components, technologies and innovative practices, which may allow improving human diet, function and health. Alimentómica is formed from a human group of 12 professionals (main stockholders), with more than 20 collaborators, with specialized skills and experience in disciplines ranging from molecular biology to nutrigenomics, and management of projects and businesses. The research group in Alimentómica is headed by Professor Andreu Palou, president of the scientific committee. The team is now involved in the proposal 818318-Preventomics, recently granted from the H2020 call DT-SFS-14-2018 on Personalized Nutrition, which aims to build up a new paradigm in preventive nutrition based on the potential personalisation through integration of a number of different levels of information (genetics, biological, physiological, nutritional, psychological), taking into account health of individuals and consumer preferences (shopping habits, menu recommendations,….) among the most relevant factors.