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ABOUT THE NATURAL ANTIOXIDANT GROUP

The Natural Antioxidant Group was founded in 1993 in response to the need to learn about the exceptional functional characteristics that polyphenols present. Following initial studies on wine and cava, our research projects now cover a wide range of foods.

Our research lines are focused on bioactive compounds: their bioavailability and health effects in humans and animals. We cover a wide range of foods and use the most current analytical techniques in the field of mass spectrometry to identify and quantify polyphenols and carotenoids and their metabolites in biological samples from clinical trials. Our research group, the Natural Antioxidant Group, has been involved in national and international studies such as the PREDIMED trial and the EPIC study, respectively. We also keep in contact and collaborate with some prestigious international Universities like the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston and UC Davis in California, among others. It is also worth noting that the Natural Antioxidant Group has been qualified as a "Consolidated Research Group 2014 SGR 773" by the Generalitat de Catalunya, belongs to the XARTA (Food Technology Reference Net) and INSA (Nutrition and Food Safety Research Institute) as well as the CIBER (Centers of Biomedical Research Network, CB12/03/30020). All the above indicates that it is a strong and well-prepared research group capable of performing clinical trials and epidemiological studies and meeting standards of excellence.Our aim is to prepare autonomous and critical personnel for appointment to internationally recognized research. Both basic and applied research can be undertaken in order to fulfill industry requirements while also impacting on our society. The student acquires skills  and abilities which will enable them to find a place in the work area.

 

GOALS

The natural antioxidant group works on projects related to the investigation of bioactive compounds from foods and their bilogical activity in humans. 

Research lines:

A.Study of bioactive compounds in food (polyphenols, carotenoids and vitamins)

• Polyphenols in food; how the levels and effects of polyphenols are modified by intrinsic factors such as genetics, and extrinsic factors, in particular culture, technology, food processing and storage.

• Our group evaluates the effect of polyphenol consumption in clinical trials with animals and humans. Furthermore, we analyze the effect of the matrix and/or the dose on the bioavailability and absorption of polyphenols and carotenoids.

B. Nutritional studies of bioactive compounds: clinical trials and epidemiological studies

• The relationship between the consumption of polyphenols, carotenoids and vitamins in the prevention and reduction of chronic diseases.

• Bioavailability and bioaccesibility tests; effect of the food matrix on the absorption and efficacy of bioactive compounds.

• Studies of nutritional biomarkers.

•Pharmacokinetics or Nutrikinetics analysis. The effect of consuming polyphenols and other bioactive compounds in the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease and obesity (PREDIMED and PREDIMEDPLUS).

• Presently, our group is actively involved in the PREDIMED (PREvention with MEditerranean DIet), which is a network of 16 research groups from 8 different regions of Spain, supported by the Ministry of Health since October 2003. PREDIMED is a large clinical, parallel group, multicenter, randomized controlled trial designed to evaluate the effects of the Mediterranean diet in the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease (www.predimed.org ; ISRCTN35739639).

Participants are randomized into three same-sized groups:

1. Mediterranean-style diet supplemented with virgin olive oil.

2. Mediterranean-style diet supplemented with nuts.

3. Low fat diet according to guidelines of the American Heart Association.

Within the frame of PREDIMED, different ways of consuming tomatoes is also evaluated (fresh, gazpacho and tomato sauce) in relation with the excretion of total polyphenols in urine. Concurrently, the influence of these food intakes on blood pressure levels and the incidence of hypertension is studied. Another focus of our research is the effect of certain genetic polymorphisms on blood pressure, and cardiovascular risk phenotypes and their modulation by consumption patterns associated with tomato.

• We are also collaborating with another observational epidemiological study: EPIC (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer; www.iarc.fr/epic). This is a prospective, multicenter cohort study, coordinated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC, International Agency for Research on Cancer) of the World Health Organization (WHO).

The Spanish cohort (www.epic-spain.com) consists of 40 885 volunteers (61.7 % women) enrolled in five geographical areas (Asturias, Granada, Guipúzcoa, Murcia and Navarre). This study was created to integrate epidemiology with laboratory investigations and genetic and metabolic factors, and to deepen our understanding of and clarify scientific knowledge about nutrition and cancer.

• We carry out interdisciplinary projects: CICYT 2013 Evaluation of the intake of different doses of tomato on blood pressure and endothelial function in patients at high vascular risk, nutrigenomic effect on risky phenotypes.

We have published more than 200 papers in journals from the first quartile in the SCI.

OUR RESEARCH TEAM

- Principal Investigator: ROSA M. LAMUELA RAVENTOS

- Postdoctoral: ANNA TRESSERRA RIMBAU

- PhD Students: ANNA CREUS CUADROS, GEMMA SASOT FLIX, MARIEL COLMÁN MARTÍNEZ, MIRIAM MARTÍNEZ HUÉLAMO, PAOLA QUIFER RADA, JOSÉ FERNANDO RINALDI ALVARENGA, SARA HURTADO BARROSO.

- Other researchers: ISIDRE CASALS RIBES, FRANCISCO JAVIER TORRADO PRAT, ELVIRA ESCRIBANO FERRER, MONTSERRAT ILLAN

LOCATION

We are located in the School of Farmacy at the University of Barcelona.

We offer directed research works, Experimental Masters, and PhD in Nutrition and Food Science.

PhD thesis offer: 

The Natural Atioxidants group is looking for applicants to pursue a PhD thesis in the Food and Nutrition program. We are looking for graduaded students in Pharmacy, Biology, Food science and Technology and Human Nutrtion with a Master degree. Students must have a mean qualification over 8/10 in order to  be eligible for FPU scholarships. 
The doctoral thesis will be performed in the departament of Food Science and Nutrition of the School of Pharmacy and in the Food and Nutrition Torribera Campus.  The thesis will be focused in the relationship between the consumption of bioactive compounds and health.