Food and health in the omics era

Food and health in the omics era

Food and health relationships have been classically interpreted in the context of life maintenance, as ensured by nutrients. However, foods also contain a wealth of secondary bioactive non-nutrient components that can also contribute to the prevention and even treatment of different chronic illnesses. Indeed a large number of epidemiological studies have shown the existence of correlations between dietary patterns and the incidence of distinct diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, certain cancers or neurodegenerative disorders. Nevertheless, the knowledge about the precise constituents and the mechanisms involved in their putative beneficial effects is still limited. In this workshop the contribution of recently introduced novel high throughput omics approaches to the understanding of the food and health relationships will be reviewed by three experts in their fields.

The large inter-individual variability in the response of humans to diet is influenced, among other factors, by their genetic makeup. Nutritional Genomics aims at understanding the complex interactions between food components and genes looking at their impact on gene expression (Nutrigenomics) as well as at the influence of genetic variation on the response to diet (Nutrigenetics). In the end, Nutritional Genomics will definitively contribute to the implementation of more refined dietary recommendations targeting specific groups of people with similar phenotypes and genetic risk factors and will help to the development of personalized nutrition.

Metabolomics takes advantage of the availability of advanced highly sensitive analytical techniques to explore the pool of metabolites present in foods or in body fluids following food consumption. This should help defining biomarkers for the intake of individual or groups of compounds or their effects, so that adequate relations with the incidence of particular diseases can be established.

In recent times, the gut microbiota has been given a crucial role in human health. Interactions between food constituents and the human microbiota may take place in a dual way. On the one hand, compounds can be transformed by microorganisms leading to a range of metabolites that may have a role as nutrients or bioactives. On the other hand, food components or their metabolites could impact on the composition and/or function of the microbiota, which may contribute to the maintenance of healthy bacteria populations and (or) to restore altered microbiota (dysbiosis) usually associated with the onset and development of chronic intestinal, metabolic and immune disorders. Microbiomics focuses on understanding the complex interactions between food constituents and the human microbiota following a multidisciplinary approach that takes into account the complexity of the human microbiome and its metabolic function and the variability among different population groups.


Food, health, omics, phytochemicals, chronic dieseases, nutrients


Conference 1

Title: Nutritional genomics. The way to personalised nutrition

Speaker: Alberto Dávalos Herrera

Institution: Instituto Madrileño de Estudios Avanzados (IMDEA, Madrid)

Conference 2

Title: Metabolomics. Defining biomarkers of consumption and effect.

Speaker: Fulvio Mattivi

Institution: Center Agriculture Food Environment, University of Trento, Italy.

Conference 3

Title: Microbiomics. What happens in the gut matters!!!

Speaker: María Carmen Collado Amores

Institution: Instituto de Agroquímica y Tecnología de Alimentos (IATA-CSIC, Valencia)


Name: Celestino Santos Buelga

Institution: Universidad de Salamanca, Spain.