The Metabolism, Aging and Disease (MAD) research area involves a multi-/inter-disciplinary study of metabolic and chronic diseases, with emphasis on those that are environment or aging-related, in an integrative approach from in vitro to animal models, human samples and patients. MAD combines strong synergies of expertise in cell metabolism and cardiovascular, hepatic, developmental, oncologic and brain diseases, with integrated and complementary biomarker and drug discovery, translational research, clinical practice, health economics, technology transfer, and public outreach. MAD integrates fundamental and translational scientists, clinicians and economists for a more holistic understanding of cause-effect relationships between (epi)genetic variability, organelle (dys)function, and metabolic flux alterations in aging and disease, with translational and value transfer potential.
MAD investigators have complementary areas of research on aging and chronic diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes (T2D), NAFLD, developmental disabilities, and cancer. Some of are transversal to chronic diseases and aging and include mitochondrial remodeling, inter-cellular communication impairment, (epi)genome variation, cellular quality control disruption, and oxidative stress. Others are specific to particular conditions, i.e. insulin resistance via drugs and obesity, impaired wound healing, cardiometabolic dysfunction in T2D; stem cell and gamete metabolism, cell signaling deregulation, and mitochondrial and metabolic alterations during oncogenesis, and developmental and brain diseases. Biomarker discovery, development of diagnostic/prognostic tools and drugs and their successful translation to the clinic have resulted in the creation of start-ups (MitoTAG, LifeTag) and technology platforms. Several MAD members develop good practices and technologies supporting healthy and active ageing, outreach initiatives towards healthier lifestyles, and analysis of health economics.
MAD incorporates 10 research groups, with over 400 papers published from 2013-17, many in top peer-reviewed journals, and obtained around 20M Euros in competitive funding. MAD investigators have coordinated and participated in national and international networks, including Ageing@Coimbra, European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing, H2020 MSCA ETN FOIE GRAS and TREATMENT, RISE mtFOIE GRAS, COST actions, and EIT Health Knowledge Innovation Community. MAD members are leaders in scientific societies, including European Society of Clinical Investigation and European Group for Insulin Resistance.
An impending perfect storm of aging, lifestyle, and genetic risk factors will generate a surge in metabolic and degenerative diseases, whose pathophysiologies involve complex intra- and inter-cellular mechanisms impacting multiple tissues and organs. MAD has the collective expertise of over 100 PhD holders (including 25 clinicians) to advance our understanding and develop more effective interventions for these diseases.