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Mercedes Fernandez Lab


Understanding the causes and drivers of liver disease to improve human health


Research in the Mercedes Fernandez Lab focuses on identifying the causes and drivers of chronic liver diseases, including cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer, which affect millions of humans beings and are leading causes of death and liver transplantation worldwide. This is essential to fully elucidate unresolved pathogenetic mechanisms, discover new drug targets, and facilitate the identification of novel therapeutic avenues that may be used to prevent or treat liver diseases. The hope being to eventually have an impact on clinical care and reduce the morbility and mortality of patients suffering from chronic liver disease.


The major aims of our team are:

  • To understand the function and regulation/dysregulation of angiogenesis in chronic liver disease.

  • To explore the pathogenic mechanisms underpinning the detrimental impact of obesity on chronic liver disease.

  • To decipher the major disease-relevant pathways in the progression from liver steatosis to fibrosis and liver cancer.

  • To apply our knowledge and research discoveries on the fundamental cell biology/pathophysiology of liver disease to the comprehension, prevention or treatment of human pathologies.

Our team is composed of highly qualified researchers, experts in a broad range of disciplines, such as Biology, Biochemistry, Biotechnology, Molecular Biology, Physiology, Pharmacy and Genetics. In addition, we have established a working, highly collaborative relationship with different groups, including biochemists, molecular biologists and clinicians, with whom we have a high degree of connectivity and complementarity. This synergistic relationship allows us to achieve better outcomes and better opportunities to develop more rapid clinical application of bench-side research.


To achieve our goals, we take a multidisciplinary approach that employs in vivo studies in animal models of liver disease and genetically-engineered mouse models, cellular and molecular biology analyses, biochemistry techniques, strategies in primary cell cultures and established mammalian cell lines and human tissues, to systematically dissect the pathologic signaling pathways of interest which could be therapeutically targeted to improve human health.

Our work is funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO), the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the Scientific Foundation of the Spanish Association Against Cancer (AECC), the Worldwide Cancer Research Foundation, the Biomedical Research Networking Center on Hepatic and Digestive Disease (CIBERehd) and the IDIBAPS Biomedical Research Institute. 

Our laboratory is part of the IDIBAPS Biomedical Research Institute, a centre for research of excellence that tackles high-prevalence, high-morbidity and high-mortality diseases. It is also affiliated to the Biomedical Research Networking Center on Hepatic and Digestive Disease (CIBEREHD) within the Spanish National Institute of Health, the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona, and the University of Barcelona’s School of Medicine.

For more information about our work, please do not hesitate to navigate through this site or contact us (



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