María Isabel Hernández-Alvarez, IRB Barcelona scientist and Ramón y Cajal researcher at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biomedicine of the Faculty of Biology of the University of Barcelona (UB), has received the Catalan Society of Biology (SCB) award to a 2020 scientific article. This award honors the authors of a scientific publication from 2019 indexed by the Thomson Reuters Web of Science, which has contributed significantly to the advance of science in biology.
The awarded article was published in the journal Cell in May 2019, and states that Mitofusin 2 protein could act as a protector regarding the non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. This pathology, which affects about the 25% of the worldwide population, is known by the accumulation of fat in the liver cells and is not caused by a high alcohol consumption.
Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NADH), an affectation that occurs with fat accumulation and inflammation, is one of the most severe clinical symptoms caused by this pathology. In the study, the scientific team confirmed there is a significant reduction of Mitufusin 2 levels in patients and mice affected by NADH. The restoration of Mitofusin 2 levels in mice with NADH revealed an important improvement in the disease accordingh to an adenovirus-based (modified viruses to express certain proteins) experimental protocol.
The first author of the awarded article is María Isabel Hernández-Alvarez, member of the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) and the Diabetes and Associated Metabolic Diseases Networking Biomedical Centre (CIBERDEM). The study is led by researcher Antonio Zorzano, professor at the Faculty of Biology of the UB and head of the Complex Metabolic Diseases and Mitochondria Laboratory at IRB Barcelona.
Among the finalists in the SCB award call were the experts Salvador Aznar, also an IRB Barcelona researcher, and Alfred Cortés, researcher at ISGlobal, University of Barcelona and Hospital Clínic, awarded by published studies in the journals Cell and Nature Microbiology, respectively.
Source: University of Barcelona.