We provided evidence that retinal neurodegeneration antedates and participates in the development of diabetic retinopathy (DR) in early stages of the disease when even no apparent microvascular lesions are present in the fundoscopic examination. Based on this concept we have shown the effectiveness of several molecules in preventing no only retinal neurodegeneration but also vascular leakage. Also, we have demonstrated that the presence and degree of DR is a powerful risk factor of cardiovascular disease and that retinal neurodegeneration is well correlated with cognitive impairment and brain neurodegeneration. Finally, we have shown that the lung can also been considered a target of the diabetic milieu. In the field of obesity, we have developed a genetic score aimed to predict the response to bariatric surgery. In addition, new insights on the pathogenesis of obesity have been provided, which resulted in the discovery of new therapeutic approaches (i.e. SHBG derived peptides).

Group Leader
Rafael Simó Canonge

Principal Investigator (PI)
Cristina Hernández Pascual, Andreea Ciudin, Olga Simó-Servat, David Martínez Selva, Josep A Villena

Patricia Bogdanov Baruj, Marta Garcia-Ramírez, Betina Biagetti, Carlos Zafon, Rosa Burgos

PhD Students
Ángel M Ortíz Zúñica, Enzamaría Fidilio Meli, Alejandra Planas Vilaseca, Anna Casteràs Roman, Fiorella Palmas, Alba Zabalegui, Hugo Ramos Abellán, Laura Briansó Llort, Anna Deàs Just

Lab Technicians
Rosario Pardo, Lorena Ramos, David Sabater, Jordi Huerta

Nursing and Technical Staff
Marc Rivas, Mònica Sánchez, Ana María Ortíz de Urbina, Marta Comas








Ramos H, Bogdanov P, Sabater D, Huerta J, Valeri M, Hernández C, Simó R
Neuromodulation Induced by Sitagliptin: A New Strategy for Treating Diabetic Retinopathy
Biomedicines. 2021 Nov 26;9(12):1772
DOI: doi: 10.3390/biomedicines9121772
IF: 6.081

Simó R, Simó-Servat O, Bogdanov P, Hernández C
Neurovascular Unit: A New Target for Treating Early Stages of Diabetic Retinopathy
Pharmaceutics. 2021 Aug 23;13(8):1320
DOI: doi: 10.3390/pharmaceutics13081320
IF: 6.321

Pardo R, Velilla M, Herrero L, Cervela L, Ribeiro ML, Simó R, Villena JA.
Calorie Restriction and SIRT1 Overexpression Induce Different Gene Expression Profiles in White Adipose Tissue in Association with Metabolic Improvement.
Mol Nutr Food Res. 2021 May;65(9):e2000672.
DOI: doi: 10.1002/mnfr.202000672
IF: 5.820

Fidilio E, Comas M, Giribés M, Cárdenas G, Vilallonga R, Palma F, Peláez RB, Simó R, Ciudin A.
Evaluation of Resting Energy Expenditure in Subjects with Severe Obesity and Its Evolution After Bariatric Surgery.
Obes Surg. 2021 Oct;31(10):4347-4355
DOI: doi: 10.1007/s11695-021-05578-5
IF: 4.129

Han YP, Tang X, Han M, Yang J, Cardoso MA, Zhou J, Simó R
Relationship between obesity and structural brain abnormality: Accumulated evidence from observational studies
Ageing Res Rev. 2021 Nov;71:101445.
DOI: doi: 10.1016/j.arr.2021.101445
IF: 10.895

Study of safety and effectiveness of topical administration (eye drops) of sitagliptin for treating early stages of diabetic retinopathy (EyeSit@)
Principal Investigator: Rafael Simó
Agency: Instituto de Salud Carlos III. Proyectos de Investigación Clínica Independiente.
Funding: 534,000 €
Period: 2021-2024

Retinal and cognitive dysfunction in type 2 diabetes: unraveling the common pathways and identification of patients at risk of dementia (RECOGNISED)
Principal Investigator: Rafael Simó (Coordinator)
Agency: EC-Horizon 2020 (Grant Agreement 847749)
Funding: 5,998,273 €
Period: 2019-2024

Identificación de los mediadores comunes a la neurodegeneración inducida por la diabetes en retina y cerebro.
Principal Investigator: Rafael Simó
Agency: Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (MINECO)
Funding: 242,000 €
Period: 2020-2022

New insights into inflammatory mediators in the pathogenesis of diabetic macular edema: therapeutic implications.
Principal Investigator: Cristina Hernández
Agency: Instituto de Salud Carlos III
Funding: 149,132 €
Period: 2020-2022

Role of sarcopenia in the evolution of morbidly obese patients who undergo bariatric surgery. Study of cohorts and mechanims involved
Principal Investigator: Andreea Ciudin
Agency: Instituto de Salud Carlos III
Funding: 123,420 €
Period: 2021-2023

Inhibidores de la dipeptidil peptidasa-4 para su uso en el tratamiento tópico ocular de enfermedades neurodegenerativas de la retina, en particular en estadios tempranos de retinopatía diabética y otras enfermedades retinianas en las que la neurodegeneración desempeña un papel esencial.
Priority Number: P3572EP00
Priority Date: 29/04/2016
Applicants: VHIR

Péptido derivado de SOCS1 para su uso en complicaciones crónicas de la diabetes
Priority Number: P201430796
Priority Date: 28/05/2014
Applicants: 49% VHIR / 26% Fundación Jiménez Díaz / 25% Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

Sex-hormone-binding globulin for use as medicament
Priority Number: EP13382202.3
Priority Date: 30/05/2013
Applicants: VHIR

Peptides for use in the topical treatment of retinal neurodegenerative diseases, in particular in early stages of diabetic retinopathy and other retinal diseases in which neurodegeneration plays an essential role
Priority Number: PCT/EP2014/053787
Priority Date: 01/03/2013
Applicants: VHIR

Antibodies or fragments thereof for use in the treatment of ocular diseases
Priority Number: PCT/EP2013/058836
Priority Date: 30/04/2012
Applicants: VHIR