Research Program. Precision Nutrition and obesity

Cardiovascular and Nutritional Epidemiology Group

Group leader: Prof. Fernando Rodríguez Artalejo

Objectives: our strategic objective is to produce relevant information to support clinical and population-based policies aimed at controlling cardiovascular diseases and their functional adverse outcomes. Specifically we work on the following research areas:

  • Nutritional and omic determinants of frailty and functional status in the older adult.
  • Diet and physical activity as determinants of obesity and cardiovascular risk in the elderly.

The results of our studies have been incorporated into the National Strategy for Ischemic Heart Disease Control, the National Strategy for Obesity Prevention and Control, and the National Strategy on Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, elaborated by the Ministry of Health of Spain.

Prof. Fernando Rodríguez Artalejo

Professor of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Medical. School of the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. Associate researcher, IMDEA Food. Group leader of the Cardiovascular and Nutritional. Epidemiology Group

Fernando Rodríguez Artalejo, MD, PhD, is Professor of Preventive Medicine and Public Health at the Medical School of the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. Dr. Rodríguez Artalejo graduated from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and received postgraduate training in the La Paz University Hospital, the Institute of Health Carlos III and the Spanish Ministry of Health in Madrid, as well as in the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg of Public Health in Baltimore. He has published over 400 scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals (h-index 51) and contributed to many policy documents on health planning and evaluation and on prevention and control of obesity and cardiovascular disease.

He has received the Carles Martí Henneberg award to a scientific career on
Nutrition Research, the Ciril Rozman award of the Spanish Society of Internal Medicine, the Silver Medal of the National Plan on Drug Addiction, and the Encomienda de la Orden Civil de Sanidad. Dr. Rodríguez Artalejo has been a member of the Scientific Committee of the Spanish Agency of Foods Safety and Nutrition, and currently serves in the European Advisory Committee of Health Research of the World Health Organization and in the Expert Panel of the European Joint Action on Prevention of Frailty (ADVANTAGE).


Dr. Pilar Guallar-Castillon

Senior researcher and Head of Research Line in the influence of diet on the development of cardiometabolic diseases

Dr. Pilar Guallar-Castillon MD, MPH, PhD is an associate professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health in the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. An specialist in Preventive Medicine and Public Health via MIR (La Paz Hospital). Has spent more than 20 years teaching Public Health by participating in graduate and postgraduate programs.

She is also responsible for courses on nutritional epidemiology. Her research activity has focused on the study of healthy behaviours and habits (HBH) especially in the field of cardiovascular and nutritional epidemiology. The author of more than 180 publications that are mainly in the first quartile of impact factor in their categories. Currently interested in the influence of cooking methods and chronobiology in the process of suffering from cardiometabolic diseases. Research collaborator in IMDEA Food Institute. Dr. Guallar's web page: 

Tlf. + 34 91 727 81 00 Ext: 402

Esther Lopez-Garcia

Senior researcher and Head of Research Line in Nutritional and omic determinants of frailty, multimorbidity and unhealthy aging in the older adults

Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Medical School. Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. Associate researcher, IMDEA Food. Group member of the Cardiovascular and Nutritional Epidemiology Group.

Esther Lopez-Garcia, PhD, MPH, MhPharm is an Associate Professor of Epidemiology at the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, in the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. She has been a Fulbright fellow in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard T. Chan School of Public Health and a Ramón y Cajal researcher at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.

Dr Lopez-Garcia research interests include:

  1. Epidemiology and prevention of obesity and cardiovascular disease through diet and lifestyle.
  2. Diet and the risk of physical function impairment, frailty and disability in the older population.
  3. Metabolomics in frailty and disability.

Dr Lopez-Garcia has assessed in detail the effect of the Mediterranean dietary patterns, coffee, meat and dairy consumption, in the risk of CVD and disability, using data from large population studies in the USA, UK and Spain. She has also examined the biological mechanisms that may explain these associations, including inflammation and endothelial dysfunction, markers of glucose metabolism and leptin, and more recently metabolomics profiles of physical impairment and functional disability.


David Martínez Gómez

Senior researcher and Head of Research Line in Physical activity and sedentary behaviors as determinants of obesity and cardiovascular and death risk in the general population.

David Martinez-Gomez graduated in Physical Education (2004) and Sports Sciences (2006), and then he completed a PhD thesis in Sport Sciences (2011) when joined to the Institute of Food Science, Technology and Nutrition (ICTAN), Spanish National Research Council. After the PhD, MSc specialization in Epidemiology was obtained in 2012 and a postdoc training was done in the Departments of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, and Physical Educacion, Sport and Human Movement (University Autonomous of Madrid). He has had national major research grants from the Spanish research career during his undergraduate, predoctoral and postdoctoral. He has stays at Iowa State University (USA, 2008), Karolinska Institutet (Sweden, 2009), Michigan State University (USA, 2010), WHO Center for Epidemiological Research (Brazil, 2013), Research Center in Physical Activity, Health and Leisure (Portugal, 2014) and the Geriatric Epidemiology Unit in the Health Tuscany Center (Italy, 2016). David has published 4 books, 4 chapters of books, and a total of 120 scientifi c JCR articles (H-index =35). Dr Martinez- Gomez research interests are related to physical activity epidemiology, including: 1) Assessment and monitoring of physical activity in clinic and epidemiological studies; 2) Determining the role of physical activity on health outcomes, especially obesity, cardiovascular disease and mortality; and 3) Promotion of physical activity across the life span.

Tlf. + 34 91 727 81 00 Ext: 504


most relevant publications
  • Struijk EA, Rodríguez-Artalejo F, Fung TT, Willett WC, Hu FB, Lopez-Garcia E. Sweetened beverages and risk of frailty among older women in the Nurses' Health Study: A cohort study. PLoS Med. 2020 Dec 8;17(12):e1003453.
  • García-Esquinas E, Carrasco-Rios M, Ortolá R, Sotos Prieto M, Pérez-Gómez B, Gutiérrez-González E, Banegas JR, Queipo R, Olmedo P, Gil F, Tellez-Plaza M, Navas-Acien A, Pastor-Barriuso R, Rodríguez-Artalejo F. Selenium and impaired physical function in US and Spanish older adults..
    Redox Biol. 2020 Nov 28;38:101819
  • Montero-Salazar H, Donat-Vargas C, Moreno-Franco B, Sandoval-Insausti H, Civeira F, Laclaustra M, Guallar-Castillón P. High consumption of ultra-processed food may double the risk of subclinical coronary atherosclerosis: the Aragon Workers' Health Study (AWHS). BMC Med. 2020 Aug 13;18(1):235.
  • Cabanas-Sánchez V, Higueras-Fresnillo S, DE LA Cámara MÁ, Esteban-Cornejo I, Martínez-GÓmez D. 24-h Movement and Nonmovement Behaviors in Older Adults. The IMPACT65+ Study. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2019 Apr;51(4):671-680.
  • Martinez-Gomez D, Esteban-Cornejo I, Lopez-Garcia E, García-Esquinas E, Sadarangani KP, Veiga OL, Rodriguez-Artalejo F. Physical activity less than the recommended amount may prevent the onset of major biological risk factors for cardiovascular disease: a cohort study of 198 919 adults. Br J Sports Med. 2018 Dec 15. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2018-099740.