Adiós but not goodbye! - Visiting Academic, Professor Begoña Muguerza returns to University Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona, Spain

6 Nov 2023
Dr Harriët Schellekens and Professor Begoña Muguerza

Spanish Government Senior Researcher Mobility Grant brought Professor Begoña Muguerza to UCC for more than one year to establish stable collaborations with UCC researchers in the Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience and APC Microbiome Ireland and to study the relationship between the intestinal microbiota, biological rhythms and functionality of bioactive compounds.

Professor Begoña Muguerza is Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry & Biotechnology and Head of the Nutrigenomics Research Group in the University Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona, on the northeast coast of Spain, where her research group consists of 9 Research Academic staff, 4 Postdoctoral Researchers and 14 PhD Students.  In her time in Cork Professor Muguerza has worked very intensely with research teams led by Dr Harriët SchellekensDepartment of Anatomy & Neuroscience and APC Microbiome Ireland, and a close collaboration has resulted between members of the Nutrigenomic Group, University Rovira i Virgili and Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience and APC Microbiome Ireland APC Microbiome Institute Ireland. 

Photo: APC Microbiome Ireland Researchers and Nutrigenomic Group, University Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona, Spain with Prof. Begoña Muguerza (photo credit venue staff)

With common research interests which include the generation of knowledge oriented to design functional foods able to prevent, delay or alleviate metabolic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension and metabolic syndrome,  Professor Muguerza and Dr Schellekens and their teams combined their expertise and  together published a review article in February 2023 in the Journal of Endocrinology; Microbes,oxytocin and stress: Converging players regulating eating behavior with authors Cristina Cuesta-Marti, Friederike Uhlig, Begoña Muguerza, Niall Hyland, Gerard Clarke and Harriët Schellekens.  A research paper in Acta Physiologica followed in May 2023 titled 'Sweet treats before sleep disrupt the clock system and increase metabolic risk markers in healthy rats' with authors Jorge R Soliz-Rueda, Raúl López-Fernández-Sobrino, Harriët Schellekens, Cristina Torres-Fuentes, Lluis Arola, Francisca Isabel Bravo and Begoña Muguerza. A number of other publications currently in press will follow shortly.

The collaboration team have submitted a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Postdoctoral fellowship application to host a University Rovira i Virgili student in APC to be supervised by Dr Harriet Schellekens and a number of other project collaborations have commenced including a study of the Effects of cranberry product on the cognitive function: role of the gut microbiome with Dr Revathy Munuswamy and  Prof. John Cryan in APC. A further collaboration projects studying the gut circadian rhythms and phenolic compounds in standard and obese rats led by Prof Muguerza with Prof. Catherine Stanton and Dr Harriet Schellekens and brain seasonal rhythms, microbiota and phenolic compounds with Dr. Gisela Helfer, from the University of Bradford, and Dr Rebecca Henry, Dr Maria R. Aburto and Dr Harriet Schellekens in Cork are also well under way.

Professor Muguerza, said that she could not have forecasted the tremendous success that the Senior Researcher Mobility collaboration has given her, she said that the friendship and work colleagues that she has made in Ireland are sure to grow and expand to further collaboration in the future. The importance of 

Dr Schellekens said “I will miss Begona very much. It has been great to work so closely together and bridging our institutions across borders and gaining friendship along the way. I look forward to our continuing collaboration and visiting Tarragona”.


Journal of Endocrinology; Microbes, oxytocin and stress: Converging players regulating eating behavior

Acta Physiologica followed in May 2023 titled 'Sweet treats before sleep disrupt the clock system and increase metabloic risk markers in healthy rats'




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News item and photographs Bereniece Riedewald

Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience

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