Platform of Nutritional Genomics and Food GENYAL
The “Cantoblanco” Food and Nutritional Genomics Platform (GENYAL) provides a high-level service for undertaking nutrigenomic and nutrigenetic studies designed to identify and understand the scientific basis of the effects of food on health.
The “Cantoblanco” Food and Nutritional Genomics Platform (GENYAL).
Knowledge of the human genome and of the variation in its key genes is of great importance in deciphering the molecular mechanisms that determine the responses of different individuals to diet, and in identifying biomarkers that allow the effects of different foods to be accurately known. Such information is vital to the promotion of health via healthy eating.
The “Cantoblanco” Food and Nutritional Genomics Platform (GENYAL) was created to cater to Spanish and foreign research groups working on nutritional genomics, as well as food industry companies interested in:
•nutritional intervention studies required for product development or for obtaining official approval of the nutritional and health claims made for products.
•the generation of the information needed to provide added value to new and existing products (e.g., the identification of new indications).
•the identification of (mainly) genetic or metabolic markers involved in the response to product consumption.
•the incorporation and validation of personalised molecular nutrition.
GENYAL provides its services to researchers and companies via three IMDEA research units:
othe Nutrition and Clinical Trials Unit
othe Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Unit
oand the Genomics Laboratory
GENYAL also provides a route for IMDEA Food Institute scientists to translate to society the advances made in their applied research projects. It has a program for characterising the phenotypes and genotypes within populations, allowing a cohort platform to be constructed for use in clinical trials on nutrition and health. Phenotype characterisation includes the gathering of socio-health data, physical activity profiles, anthropometric information and the results of biochemical analyses; genotype characterisation involves the identification of variants (nucleotide polymorphims and SNPs) of genes involved in nutrient metabolism and nutrition-linked disease. Volunteers are being permanently recruited; nearly 1000 persons interested in participating as volunteers have already been contacted.
Nutrition and Clinical Trials Unit
GENYAL has all the necessary infrastructure for undertaking clinical trials that may or may not include a genetic component. An independent ethics committee ensures that the rights, safety and wellbeing of trial participants are upheld, by taking into account the methodology of proposed trials, their ethical and legal aspects, and the balance between risks and benefits. This committee is formed by professionals of recognised prestige and experience in research.
The Nutritional and Clinical Trials Unit undertakes nutritional intervention studies designed to assess the biological activity and health properties of functional foods/bioactive compounds and diets in humans. Both observational and clinical intervention studies involving healthy subjects and those with pathologies can be performed. The Unit has an intervention/extraction room, two nutritional consultation offices, a room for short-term monitoring, and a room for discussions and conferences on nutritional education.
Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Unit
A project control web application has been developed for storing and processing data and monitoring samples pertaining to different nutrition research projects. This application, designed by the IMDEA Food Institute and which uses open source software, can store and manage a large volume of phenotype and genotype data. It also holds anthropometric, medical and biochemical data, as well as validated nutritional questionnaires that can be filled in on-line (greatly facilitating data entry). The recruitment process can also be managed using this application. The entire system dissociates/anonymises all data in keeping with Spanish privacy legislation (Ley Orgánica 15/1999 de 13 de diciembre de Protección de Datos de Carácter Personal).
The Unit provides resources and personnel specialised in the analysis of phenotype-genotype associations, the identification of biomarkers, the analysis of gene expression microarray data, real time PCR analysis, the functional analysis of differential expression results, and those obtained by next generation sequencing, etc.
The Unit organises specialised training courses and collaborates with the postgraduate program of the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.
Genomics Platform
The Genomic Laboratory has the necessary infrastructure for providing genetic and genomic services, and provides technical and scientific support to researchers and private companies. The Laboratory has the latest hardware for performing gene expression and genotyping analyses - such as a QuantStudioTM apparatus etc. – for use in nutrigenetic and nutrigenomic studios designed to provide the scientific background for effective, personalised “medical nutrition”.
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