Medicine and nutrition: a two-sided strategy to tackle diabetes and obesity

The Project

The type and amount of food we eat plays a crucial role in determining our long-term health. Once conceptualized as the result of disturbances in somatic balance, both obesity and eating disorders are now considered as multi-factorial disorders that are best understood in terms of neurobiological and genetic alterations that predispose an individual to develop the pathology related to each condition.

Obesity has become a major global health challenge with overweight and obesity estimated to cause 3.4 million deaths yearly and 4% of years of life lost worldwide. The spread of obesity shows little signs of abating with the proportion of overweight adults increasing between 1980 and 2013 from 28.8% to 36.9% in men, and from 29.8% to 38.0% in women. During the past two decades, the prevalence of obesity in children has also risen greatly across the globe.

Eating disorders are severe and enduring disorders characterized by important concerns about body self-image, weight and dieting, as well as engagement in intense food restriction and/or intake. In addition, some eating disorders also feature bingeing and purging episodes.

The aim of the project is to provide a complete scope about obesity and abnormal eating behaviors using five different approaches to offer solutions to those suffering from these conditions: medical, psychological, neuroscience, nutritional and culinary.

Nutrition, physical activity and healthy eating habits play an essential role to make a positive change in society. There is a close relation between a healthy lifestyle and the development and occurrence of conditions like obesity and eating disorders. These are considered non-communicable diseases, medical conditions or diseases that are non-infectious and non-transmissible among people.

Initially, you will receive training on standard nutritional requirements for the general population, basic knowledge on nutrition and diet, and how having healthy eating habits and the Mediterranean diet can be used to prevent specific conditions. In addition, your training will focus on learning about different types of eating disorders and obesity, signs, symptoms and how to diagnose and treat conditions. If a patient does not receive proper treatment, the patient can suffer from hyperglycemia, hypoglycemia or other derived problems, as well as cognitive impairments, that you will study from clinical examples using videos and assessment tools.

For the general population, there are nutritional requirements that suffer changes when dealing with obesity and abnormal eating behaviors, so it is essential to know the specific needs of each patient group. In the specific case of diabetes, there are parameters to be monitored when eating and depending on the blood glucose levels the diet may change, that are impacting middle-long term body weight.

There is a close link with eating disorders and obesity, so you will find answer to which are the risk factors, comorbidities and related clinical aspects and the relation between these two diseases. You will discover some of the most relevant and innovative research   being conducted in the field of obesity and eating disorders; conducted by Predimed-Plus, and CIBER, namely by Ciberobn, but also by Ciberdem and Cibersam.

Using innovative, dynamic, theoretical and practical workshops on nutrition, neuroscience, psychological assessment and physical exercise you will learn how to apply clinical tools to provide solutions in the treatment of obesity and eating disorders. You will study and have practical opportunities to use different culinary strategies to manage diets of this patient population and learn how to effectively communicate how important food is on our overall health. Last, you will be trained on how different assessment tools, including neuropsychological, neuroimaging and sensorial measures, can be used to advance evaluations and diagnoses.

In sum, the aim of this project is to provide you with the knowledge and tools to recognize the importance of these diseases in our society and to encourage cutting-edge research in this field.

Matching profiles

Nutrition, biology, chemistry, biotechnology, biochemistry, chemistry, food technology, genetics, neurosciences and psychology.

Learning objectives
  • Research medical and nutritional aspects of patients suffering from obesity, eating disorders and diabetes.
  • Discover the relation between these diseases and nutrition and physical exercise.
  • Know useful information about food and how to apply different strategies for managing diets in patients with obesity and diabetes through cuisine.   
Coordinator of the project

Fernando Fernández

  • Professor of Psychology at the University of Barcelona and Head of the Eating Disorders Unit at the Department of Psychiatry (HUB)
  • Director of the Research Committee of HUB and Head of CIBERobn Group (Spanish Research Network for Obesity and Nutrition).
  • PhD University of Hamburg (Germany) and invited Professor at the UNC (NC,US), and McGill University, Montreal (Canada).
  • More than 300 peer-reviewed published paper and PI or more than 35 National and International (FW5, FW6, FW7, H2020) funded Projects.
  • Recipient of several international Awards (2004 AED Meehan Hartley Award, 2011 Best EU Serious Game, 2015 AED leadership Research Award, 2017 Hilde Bruch Lecture Award).

Adriana Gálvez

  • Degree in Biology by Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB).
  • MSc in Nutrition and Metabolism by Rovira i Virgili’s University (URV) and University of Barcelona (UB).
  • Project manager in Technological Development and Innovation, and Health and Eating Habits areas of Alícia Foundation.
Míriam Torres

Míriam Torres

  • Bachelor degree in Food Science and Technology and in Human Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Barcelona (UB).
  • She began her research career in 2003 when she was awarded with a pre-doctoral scholarship by the University Rovira Virgili to work as a pre-doctoral researcher.
  • In 2004 she started her work at the University of Vic-Central University of Catalonia combining her academic and research career.
  • Her research interests include: study of foods and the modification of their nutritional profile through innovative ingredients and processes and their relationship with the technological, functional, sensory and nutritional properties, analysing also its influence on the perception of the consumer
Rosa Gasa

Rosa Gasa

Dr. Gasa obtained her PhD in Biology from the University of Barcelona in 1997. She conducted postdoctoral training at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas (1997-2000) and at the University of California in San Francisco (2001-2003). She joined the Diabetes and Obesity Research Laboratory at IDIBAPS in 2004 as an awardee of the Ramon y Cajal Program of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Technology. Presently, she is holding the position of Research Associate. Dr. Gasa’s investigations focus on understanding the molecular mechanisms involved in the establishment of pancreatic beta cell mass during organism development and the design of reprogramming strategies to generate beta-like cells from fibroblasts for transplantation purposes in diabetic patients.

Associated researchers

Susana Jimenez-Murcia

  • Associated Professor of Psychology at the University of Barcelona and Head of the Behavioral Addiction Unit at the Department of Psychiatry (HUB)
  • Co-Head of CIBERobn Group (Spanish Research Network for Obesity and Nutrition).
  • PhD in Psychology by Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB)
  • Specialist in Clinical Psychology
  • MSc in Clinical Psychology by Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB)
  • Invited Professor at the UNC (NC,US), and McGill University, Montreal (Canada).
  • Recipient of several international Awards (2011 Best EU Serious Game, 2011 Best Ideas Diario Médico).

Lucero Munguía

  • Degree in Psychology by the Autonomous University of Hidalgo State (México)
  • Diploma in teaching skills at the high school level by the Autonomous University of Hidalgo State (México)
  • MSc in Health Psychology Research by the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB)
  • PhD in Clinical and Health Psychology by the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB)
  • Postdoctoral researcher in the Eating Disorders Unit (UTCA) at the Clinical Sciences Department of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Barcelona (Spain)
  • Member of the “Red Global MX” – MX global network of qualified Mexicans, at the Europe region, in Barcelona.

Xavier Pintó

  • Professor School of Medicine, University of Barcelona (UB).
  • Head of the Cardiovascular Risk Unit at the Bellvitge University Hospital (Internal Medicine Department).
  • Head of CIBEROBN Group.
  • Chair of Sociedad Española de Arteriosclerosis.

Isabel Sanchez

  • Specialist in Clinical Psychology.
  • Consultant at the Eating Disorders Unit, Department of Psychiatry (HUB).
  • PhD in Psychology by the University of Barcelona (UB).
  • Tutor of Clinical Psychologists in Training at the HUB.

Giulia Testa

  • Degree in Clinical Psychology at the University of Padua, Italy.
  • MSc in Clinical Neuropsychology at the University of Padua, Italy.
  • PhD in Clinical Psychology at the Department of Human and Social Sciences, University of Bergamo, Italy.
  • Researcher at the Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital of Bellvitge, IDIBELL.

Núria Vilarrasa

  • Faculty specialist in Endocrinology and Nutrition Coordinator of the Morbid Obesity program at the Department of Endocrinology of University Hospital of Bellvitge.
  • Coordinator of the GOSEEN group (Group for the study of Obesity) from the Spanish Society Endocrinology and Nutrition.
  • Member of CIBERDEM and IDIBELL.

Cristina Vintró

  • Degree in Psychology at University Abat Oliba.
  • MSc in General Sanitary Psychology at University of Barcelona (UB).
  • PhD by University of Barcelona (UB)
  • Researcher at Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital of Bellvitge – IDIBELL

Alba Reguant

  • Pharmacist and a Registered Dietitian from the University of Navarra (UNAV) and completed the IOC Diploma in Sports Nutrition.
  • As recipient of a Fulbright scholarship, she was graduated from Master’s degree in sports nutrition at the University of Colorado, in collaboration with the United States Olympic Committee.
  • Highly interested in sports nutrition and performance where she teaches at the University of Vic (UVIC-UCC).
  • Her PhD, directed by Dr. Nanna Meyer (UCCS) in collaboration with the group of Dr. Thomas Nemecek (Agroscope, Switzerland) analyses how to introduce environmental sustainability in sports’ nutrition educational tools

Alba Adot

  • Degree in Human Nutrition and Dietetics by University of Barcelona (UB). 
  • Project manager in Health and Eating Habits area of Alícia Foundation.


Ana Lobato

  • Degree in Gastronomy and Culinary Arts by Basque Culinary Centre, with the specialization on the vanguard.
  • Graduated as a superior technician on Nutrition in Education University. 
  • MSc in Pastry developing the final project in El Celler de Can Roca.
  • Knowledge in Biotechnology by the University of Leon - Spain.
  • Project manager in Technological Development and Innovations area.


Vinicius Capovila

  • Degree in Biological Sciences by UNICAMP, Campinas State University - Campinas, Brazil.
  • Advanced Diploma in European Culinary Management in DCT International Hotel & Business Management School.
  • Higher Program in Gastronomy Technology and Post-Graduation in Brazilian Cuisine in Centro Universitário SENAC - São Paulo, Brazil.
  • Project manager in Technological Development and Innovation, and Health and Eating Habits areas of Alícia Foundation.
  • Chef and nutritionist of the Football Federation Australia - Australia

Fabiola Juárez

  • Degree in Human Nutrition and Dietetics from University of Barcelona (UB).
  • Degree in Agricultural Technical Engineering specialized in Food Industry by the Universitat Politècnica de Barcelona (UPC).
  • MSc in Nutrition and Food by the University of Barcelona (UB).
  • Project manager in Health and Eating Habits area of Alícia Foundation.
  • Worked as a nutritionist in the prevention of childhood obesity within the programs of the Department of Health of the Government of Wales - United Kingdom.

Rebeca Fernández

  • Degree in Biology by University of Oviedo - Spain. 
  • PhD in Biology by University of Oviedo - Spain. 
  • Short Postdoctoral stay OCDEM, University of Oxford - United Kingdom. 
  • Researcher in CIBERDEM-IDIBAPS.
The center

Bellivitge Hospital University (HUB) was opened in 1972 and is located in the city of Hospitalet de Llobregat (Barcelona) and belongs to the Catalan Health Institute (ICS). The HUB is one of the only five hospitals in all Catalonia certified as third level center, allowing to treat high level complexity cases, and is of reference to more than 2 million of people.

For more than 25 years, the hospital has been an educational center linked to the University of Barcelona (Campus Bellvitge) within the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, recognized as International Health Campus (HUBc). The hospital is a state of the art research center and member of the Biomedical Research Institute of Bellvitge (IDIBELL), one of the few government owned centers certified with the highest research level by the Carlos III Research Institute.