Area 2

Physiopathological mechanisms of respiratory illnesses

Team leader

Strategic objectives

  • Increase the understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in the development of pulmonary vascular diseases
  • Identification of new biomarkers and therapeutic targets for pulmonary hypertension
  • Characterization of factors involved in the development of extrapulmonary disorders in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Determination of intra-and extrapulmonary manifestations of severe obesity
  • Evaluation of the role of stem cells in lung injury and repair mechanisms.
  • Get personalized medical care for chronic respiratory diseases from a systems medicine strategy.

Main lines of research

50/50 Program

Isabel Blanco


Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a disease of small pulmonary arteries, characterized by gradual obliteration of the arterial lumen due to the enlargement of the vessel wall. It results in a progressive increase of pulmonary vascular resistance (PVR) and, finally, right ventricular failure and death. While vasoconstriction contributes, especially in earlier stages, the obstructive vascular remodelling is the major cause of the elevated PVR and ultimately the right heart failure. Recent therapeutic advances increase survival and improve quality of life of patients with PAH. However, currently available drugs act primarily as vasodilators and do not alter the disease process or the structural lesions in the pulmonary arteries. There is a need to identify new signaling pathways in the pathogenesis of PAH, which may represent different more appropriate therapeutic targets. We propose going from the bench to the bed side studying with cells, tissue samples, animal models and also human samples potential biomarkers of the disease activity and progression; as well as potential new drugs to reverse the proliferative remodelling phenotype in PAH.