Research Divisions

Microbiome Research

IntroductionScientific objectivesResearch groupsCoordinator

The Cross-disciplinary Microbiome Research Division was established in June 2020 as a result of ISPA’s interest in developing lines of research on the human microbiome that include basic, applied and translational elements. The division is made up of twelve research groups belonging to six distinct ISPA research divisions. It brings together a significant proportion of the research groups in Asturias working on topics related to the human microbiome. The division includes groups that conduct applied and basic research on biotechnology, microbiology and immunology, neurosciences, cancer and ageing, physiology, nutrition and metabolism. An important challenge for the division will be to introduce microbiome analysis methods into clinical practice, particularly the diagnosis and treatment of diseases.
Research on the human microbiome currently bridges many biomedical fields. The creation of this new research division will enable new synergies to be created between its participating groups, which will lead to increased scientific output and facilitate access to new funding sources and participation in collaborative studies and consortia. The aim of these developments is to create Spain’s first basic and clinical microbiota research collective, and to position ISPA as a leading institution for microbiome research.

The general objective of the division is to contribute to knowledge production on the roles that microorganisms in the human microbiome play in relation to health, and to apply this knowledge to the clinical field.
The research division’s specific objectives, designed to achieve this general objective, are as follows:

  • To study microbiota in different physiological and pathological states.
    The impact of diet and other external factors.
  • To promote the implementation of methodologies based on microbiome analysis in clinical practice.
    The microbiome as a marker of disease and the therapeutic opportunities offered by microbiome modification.
  • To develop new probiotic and prebiotic biotherapeutics.
  • To describe the mechanisms involved in the interactions between microbiota and the host.

Further information is available in the research division’s section of Joint Scientific Plan (June 2020 version).


Abelardo Margolles Barros

Abelardo Margolles is a Research Lecturer affiliated to IPLA and one of the leading researchers of the Functionality and Ecology of Beneficial Microorganisms (MicroHealth) group.
Highlights of his scientific career include his significant contributions to knowledge about food-related microorganisms and their effects on human health, primarily in two fields: the benefits of probiotic microorganisms, particularly bifidobacteria; and interactions between intestinal microbiota and the host. As a result of his research, he has co-authored a large number of scientific articles and is co-inventor of two patents.