Pedro Mena Parreño
Pedro Mena Parreño was born in Alicante (Spain) in 1985. He holds a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cell Biology and developed his pre-doctoral work at the Dept. of Food Science and Technology of CEBAS-CSIC (Spanish National Research Council) (Murcia, Spain) (2009-2013). He visited the University of Parma for the first time in 2012, and that represented a turning point in his life. Pedro joined Prof. Daniele Del Rio's Lab at the Human Nutrition Unit in Parma (Italy) as Post-doctoral Research Fellow (2013-2019). He became Assistant Professor in August 2019 and was awarded an ERC Starting Grant in 2020 with the PREDICT-CARE project.
Dr. Mena is active in the field of the relationships between plant foods and health, investigating the bioavailability and biological activity of plant bioactives in human, animal, and cell models. Main interests are now oriented to the study of the inter-individual variability existing in the metabolism of (poly)phenolic compounds and how this heterogeneity may define the cardiometabolic response to the consumption of plant foods at individual level. Pedro is also devoted to the development and use of realistic experimental models, trying to make science more robust and translatable.
Dr. Mena has published >105 papers in peer reviewed ISI journals, has >50 contributions to international conferences, some invited presentations at international conferences, 7 book chapters, 4 granted patents, and active participations in international networks and EU funded projects. He is a Senior Editorial Board Member for Scientific Reports, member of the editorial boards of Nutrients and Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, and has served as Guest Editor for Molecules, Nutrients, Frontiers in Nutrition and Frontiers in Pharmacology.
PREDICT-CARE: Developing tools for the PREDICTion, at individual level, of the CArdiometabolic REsponse to the consumption of dietary (poly)phenols
The increased burden of cardiometabolic diseases is a major societal challenge worldwide. Plant-based diets, rich in bioactive compounds such as (poly)phenols, may promote cardiometabolic health. However, the preventive effects of these bioactives depend on the individual capacity to produce, and respond to, (poly)phenol metabolites. This heterogeneity in the individual response to the consumption of (poly)phenols is the main hindrance to exploit their potential for the prevention of cardiometabolic diseases through effective dietary strategies.
The ERC-StG project PREDICT-CARE aims at implementing integrative tools for the prediction, at individual level, of the cardiometabolic response to the consumption of dietary (poly)phenols, taking into account inter-individual differences in both metabolism and health effects of these plant food bioactives. The project aims at understanding the determinants leading to individual variability in the production of phenolic metabolites and driving cardiometabolic responsiveness to (poly)phenol consumption. Comprehensive metabolic phenotypes (metabotypes) for main dietary (poly)phenols and the factors associated with their formation will be identified. Then, the association between phenolic metabotypes and cardiometabolic health will be explored. Last, an integrative, high-throughput platform will be developed to identify phenolic metabotypes and to predict cardiometabolic responses to the consumption of dietary (poly)phenols considering individual’s makeup.
PREDICT-CARE will develop new concepts, new methodologies and a new analytical platform. It relies on the integration of factors determining inter-individual variability, the deployment of translatable nutrition interventions, and the application of predictive modelling. PREDICT-CARE will lead to long-lasting breakthroughs and will build a new scenario in preventive, evidence-based, personalised nutrition strategies with these major dietary plant bioactives.
Working group: Pedro Mena, Animesh Acharjee, Federico Bergenti, Riccardo Bonadonna, Furio Brighenti, Daniele Del Rio, Anne-Marie Minihane, Alice Rosi, Francesca Scazzina, Marco Ventura.