Dr Borja Ibáñez wins the Fundación Jesús Serra Research Award for his work in the fields of nutrition and food science
The €35,000 awarded by the foundation in each category is for research that deepens knowledge of the relationship between nutrition, food and health
Dr Borja Ibáñez, director of the Clinical Research Department of the Spanish National Centre for Cardiovascular Research (CNIC) and cardiologist at the Fundación Jiménez Díaz, is one of the winners of the third edition of the Fundación Jesús Serra Research Awards. This initiative of the Fundación Jesús Serra, part of the Grupo Catalana Occidente, is aimed at scientists under the age of 45 who specialise in nutrition and food.
Dr Borja Ibáñez, joint winner of the 3rd edition of the award in the clinical category, along with Maria Carmen Collado from the Biotechnology Department of the Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology-Spanish National Research Council (IATA-CSIC), leads the Clinical Research department of CNIC, the Spanish National Centre for Cardiovascular Research, and is cardiologist at the Fundación Jiménez Díaz University Hospital, as well as group leader in CIBERCV.
He was awarded this recognition for his clinical research career and, specifically, for his research work on "Nutritional approaches for the prevention of cardiotoxicity associated with cancer treatments", which focuses on the development of new therapeutic intervention aimed at reducing the prevalence of chronic heart failure in cancer survivors. Each year, 4 million new cases of cancer are diagnosed in Europe, of which 60% receive a combination of drugs that include anthracyclines. One of the most feared adverse effects of this group of drugs is their direct cardiotoxicity, which may affect up to one third of patients who receive high doses of anthracyclines. This toxicity may lead to severe heart failure in more than 5% of cases. Ongoing studies of Dr Ibáñez's group show that nutritional approaches, based mainly on intermittent fasting and dietary restrictions, are associated with an increase in the processes of asymmetrical fission and mitophagy, and therefore could protect against the cardiotoxicity of anthracyclines.
According to the General Director of CNIC, Dr Valentín Fuster, "There are very few researchers in the world capable of understanding translational research as Borja Ibáñez does, and who are able to decipher the mechanisms of disease and treatment at this molecular level to apply them in clinical practice, testing the therapies in clinical trials". For Dr Borja Ibáñez, receiving this award represents the "significant recognition of a study that we consider pioneer in Europe, and which will attract great interest in the cardiovascular and oncological fields, as well as among the general public. Moreover, it will enable us to increase the resources devoted to this project so that we can meet the targets set."
There are very few researchers in the world capable of understanding translational research as Borja Ibáñez does, and who are able to decipher the mechanisms of disease and treatment at this molecular level to apply them in clinical practice, testing the therapies in clinical trials
Doctor Rubén Nogueiras, of the Singular Centre for Research in Molecular Medicine and Chronic Diseases and full professor at the University of Santiago de Compostela (CIMUS-USC) was winner in the basic category.
The €35,000 awarded by the Fundación Jesús Serra Research Awards in each category are destined to incentivize research in the area of nutrition and food science, a field that has proved to be essential due to its connection with health. This connection has become so consolidated that a many studies and research papers indicate that lifestyles and dietary habits can prevent and improve the clinical status of some diseases such as ischaemic heart disease, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes cancer or obesity, among others.
The jury highlighted the research careers of the three candidates and the major contribution their work has made in the areas of both clinical and basic research
According to the president of Fundación Jesús Serra, Federico Halpern, "Support for research in Spain has always been important for our Foundation, and this is even truer in the case of research focused on nutrition and food. The last year has only strengthened this belief, and it is for this reason that we continue to back young scientists who help improve the dietary habits of our society. In this 3rd edition we have received some very good projects, proof of which is the career of the scientists who are the recipients of these awards and the importance of their projects."
The jury, chaired by the Director of the CNIO (Spanish National Cancer Research Centre), Dr María Blasco, was composed of the Professor of Immunology and Microbiology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Dr Mercedes Rincón, director of the ICCC (Catalan Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences) and the CSIC (Spanish National Research Council) research professor at the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Professor Lina Badimon, the Director of the Cardiology Service at the Hospital Clínico San Carlos de Madrid, and President of the FEC (Spanish Heart Foundation), Dr Carlos Macaya, the president and founder of the FHF (Spanish Familial Hypercholesterolemia Foundation), Dr. Pedro Mata, and the two winners of the second edition of the Fundación Jesús Serra Research Awards: Raúl Zamora Ros, researcher of the private foundation Instituto Biomédica de Bellvitge (IDIBELL) y del Instituto Catalán de Oncología; and Salvador Aznar Benitah, researcher of the Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA) and Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona).