Offer for Ramón y Cajal 2019 fellow. Cardiovascular

Dr. Vicenta Llorente Cortés ( Group Lipids and Cardiovascular Pathology

Group leader: Dr. Vicenta Llorente-Cortés obtained her PhD in Biomedicine at Autonomous University of Barcelona in 1995 after a three year stay at Bern University (Switzerland) working as a PhD student. Between 1996 and 2006, she worked as post-doctoral researcher in CSIC/IR-SantPau’s Hospital group.  At 2006, she become CSIC Head Scientist and Coordinator of the group Lipids and Cardiovascular Pathology (CSIC/IIB-SantPau). She has achieved until now ninety-two international publications in medium/high impact journals, nine consecutive projects from the Instituto de Salud Carlos III, two projects from Fundació Marató TV3-Malalties Cardiovasculars (2008 and 2014) and two projects focused on innovation; one project Llavor (2014), one project Retos-Colaboración (MINECO 2015) coordinated by a company to develop anti-atherosclerotic peptide-based compounds and one project granted by BBVA Foundation in 2019 to develop a new radiotracer clinically useful in nuclear medicine to detect atherosclerotic plaques. The group has acquired a large translational aspect by developing new potential therapeutic tools and animal models suitable for proof-of-concept studies. She is co-inventor of three patents, one of them granted in USA and Europe.

Research lines: Our research group focuses on 1) Search of new molecular mechanisms underlying abnormal cholesterol accumulation in the vasculature to find innovative treatments in atherosclerosis, and 2) Identification of new peptidic and omic biomarkers useful in the detection of mechanisms underlying cardiovascular disease. The group has been pioneer in identifying the main processes involved the formation of foam cells from smooth muscle cell (SMC) origin. We showed that SMC-foam cells acquire a phenotype highly prothrombotic that plays a crucial role in plaque destabilization and evolution towards clinical events.  We have consistently demonstrated that the lipoprotein receptor, LRP1, through its pathological function of facilitating the transfer of cholesterol from atherogenic lipoproteins to vasculature and myocardium, contributes to the onset and development of several diseases of great prevalence in our society such as atherosclerosis, ischemic and diabetic myocardiopathies. In addition, the group has now an extensive productive work identifying new proteic and epigenomic biomarkers useful to improve the diagnosis and prognosis of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Currently, we are investing a big effort to develop new compounds to target SMC and cardiomyocyte cholesterol loading through regulation of LRP1 interaction with atherogenic lipoproteins. Currently, we have available in the group peptides and antibodies with proven efficacy in atherosclerosis that could be potentially useful in several cardiomyopathies. To advance these compounds towards the clinics, we have established strategical collaborations with clinicians from SantPau’s and other national and international traslational groups.


Last key publications:

- Bornachea O, Benitez-Amaro A, Vea A, et al. Immunization with the Gly1127-Cys1140 amino acid sequence of the LRP1 receptor reduces atherosclerosis in rabbits. Molecular, immunohistochemical and nuclear imaging studies. Theranostics. 2020;10(7):3263-3280. Published 2020 Feb 10. doi:10.7150/thno.37305.

- Benitez-Amaro A, Revuelta-López E, Bornachea O, et al. Low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 1 deficiency in cardiomyocytes reduces susceptibility to insulin resistance and obesity. Metabolism. 2020;106:154191. doi:10.1016/j.metabol.2020.154191.

- Vilades D, Martínez-Camblor P, Ferrero-Gregori A, et al. Plasma circular RNA hsa_circ_0001445 and coronary artery disease: Performance as a biomarker. FASEB J. 2020;34(3):4403-4414. doi:10.1096/fj.201902507R