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Dr. Sergio Rodriguez-Cuenca



About me


  • Bachelor degree in Biology (1998) and Biochemistry (1999) at the University of Balearic Islands (UIB).

  • PhD student at the Department of Fundamental Biology and Health Sciences (UIB) from 2000 to 2005.

  • Visiting Researcher in 2003 at the University of Birmingham, (UK).

  • Visiting Researcher in 2004 at the University of Cambridge (UK).

  • Visiting Researcher in 2005 at the University of Utah, (USA).

  • Marie Curie fellow at Department of Clinical Biochemistry, University of Cambridge (Cambridge, UK) from 2006 to 2008.

  • Research Associate at Wellcome Trust MRC Institute of Metabolic Science, University of Cambridge (Cambridge, UK) from 2008 to 2013.

  • From 2014, Senior Research Associate at Wellcome Trust MRC Institute of Metabolic Science, University of Cambridge (Cambridge, UK).


Research Interests

My current areas of interest are the following:

1) To investigate the qualitative aspects of glycerophospholipid and sphingolipid remodelling and their relevance in the context of obesity/T2D and NAFLD. Particularly, I am interested in the plasticity of the molecular pathways responsible for the remodelling of cellular membranes.

2) To explore the role of mitochondrial dysfunction in the development of insulin resistance and other metabolic disturbances associated with obesity and vice versa; how insulin resistance/diabetes impacts on mitochondrial biology. I am also interested in strategies to increase mitochondrial performance as a possible therapy for Metabolic Syndrome.

3) To study peroxisome biology, particularly the biosynthesis of etherlipids in the context of obesity and insulin resistance.

4) To gain knowledge about the molecular mechanisms controlling lipolysis and lipid droplet biology in obesity and insulin resistance states.


H-index: 25 and 3159 citations (Google Scholar) for a total of 40 peer-reviewed manuscripts.


Marco Bauzá-Thorbrügge, Sergio Rodríguez-Cuenca, (5 co-authors) and Ana M. Proenza. Estradiol restores mitochondrial function and reduces oxidative stress in inflamed adipocytes through GPER and ERα but not ERβ; a mechanism dependent on the PKA pathway. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2019 Jan;185:256-267.

Rodriguez-Cuenca, S*, Carobbio S*, (8 co-authors) and Antonio Vidal-Puig. P465L pparg mutation confers partial resistance to the hypolipidemic action of fibrates. Diabetes Obes Metab. 2018 Oct;20(10):2339-2350.

Ivan Arias de la Rosa*, Alejandro Escudero-Contreras A*, Sergio Rodríguez-Cuenca*, (11 co-authors) and Nuria Barbarroja. Defective glucose and lipid metabolism in rheumatoid arthritis is determined by chronic inflammation in metabolic tissues. J Intern Med. 2018 Jul;284(1):61-77.

Tsuchiya Y, Peak-Chew SY, Newell C, Miller-Aidoo S, Mangal S, Zhyvoloup A, Bakovic J, Malanchuk O, Pereira GC, Kotiadis V, Szabadkai G, Duchen MR, Campbell  M, Cuenca SR, Vidal-Puig A, James AM, Murphy MP, Filonenko V, Skehel M, Gout I. Protein CoAlation: a redox-regulated protein modification by coenzyme A in mammalian cells. Biochem J. 2017 Jul 11;474(14):2489-2508.


Rodriguez-Cuenca, S, Pellegrinelli V, Campbell M, Oresic M, Vidal-Puig A. Sphingolipids and glycerophospholipids - The "yin and yang" of lipotoxicity in metabolic diseases. Prog Lipid Res. 2017 Apr;66:14-29.

Rodriguez-Cuenca S, Whyte L, Hagen R, Vidal-Puig A, Fuller M. SCD1 Is a Key Determinant of Membrane Lipid Composition in 3T3-L1 Adipocytes. PLoS One. 2016 Sep 15;11(9).

Pellegrinelli V, Rouault C, Rodriguez-Cuenca S, Albert V, Edom-Vovard F, Vidal-Puig A, Clément K, Butler-Browne G, Lacasa D. Human adipocytes induce inflammation and atrophy in muscle cells during obesity. Diabetes. 2015 Sep;64(9):3121-34.


N Barbarroja*, S Rodriguez-Cuenca*, H Nygren, A Camargo, A Pirraco, J Relat, I Cuadrado, G Medina, C Lopez, FJ. Tinahones, JD Symons, SA Summers, M Oresic and A Vidal-Puig. Increased DhCer/Cer ratio mediated by defective expression of Dihydroceramide desaturase 1 (DEGS1) prevents impairs adipocyte differentiation and function Diabetes. 2015 Apr;64(4):1180-92.

Rodriguez-Cuenca S*, Barbarroja N* and Vidal-Puig A.  Dihydroceramide desaturase 1, the gatekeeper of ceramide induced lipotoxicity. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2015 Jan;1851(1):40-50.

Mercader JM, Puiggros M, Segrè AV, Planet E, Sorianello E, Sebastian D, Rodriguez-Cuenca S, Ribas V, Bonàs-Guarch S, Draghici S, Yang C, Mora S, Vidal-Puig A, Dupuis J; DIAGRAM Consortium, Florez JC; MITIN Consortium, Zorzano A, Torrents D. Identification of novel type 2 diabetes candidate genes involved in the crosstalk between the mitochondrial and the insulin signaling systems. PLoS Genet. 2012;8(12):e1003046.


Rodriguez-Cuenca S, Carobbio S, Vidal-Puig A. Ablation of Pparg2 impairs lipolysis and reveals murine strain differences in lipolytic responses. FASEB J. 2012 May;26(5):1835-44.


Rodriguez-Cuenca S, Carobbio S, Velagapudi VR, Barbarroja N, Moreno-Navarrete  JM, Tinahones FJ, Fernandez-Real JM, Oresic M, Vidal-Puig A. Pparγ dependent regulation of lipolytic nodes and metabolic flexibility. Mol Cell Biol. 2012 Apr;32(8):1555-65.


Pietiläinen KH, Róg T, Seppänen-Laakso T, Virtue S, Gopalacharyulu P, Tang J,  Rodriguez-Cuenca S, Maciejewski A, Naukkarinen J, Ruskeepää AL, Niemelä PS, Yetukuri L, Tan CY, Velagapudi V, Castillo S, Nygren H, Hyötyläinen T, Rissanen A, Kaprio J, Yki-Järvinen H, Vattulainen I, Vidal-Puig A, Orešič M. Association of lipidome remodeling in the adipocyte membrane with acquired obesity in humans. PLoS Biol. 2011 Jun;9(6):e1000623.

Carobbio S, Rodriguez-Cuenca S, Vidal-Puig A. Origins of metabolic complications in obesity: The importance of the qualitative aspect of lipotoxicity. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2011 Nov;14(6):520-6.

López M, Varela L, Vázquez MJ, Rodríguez-Cuenca S, González CR, Velagapudi VR,Morgan DA, Schoenmakers E, Agassandian K, Lage R, de Morentin PB, Tovar S, Nogueiras R, Carling D, Lelliott C, Gallego R, Oresic M, Chatterjee K, Saha AK, Rahmouni K, Diéguez C, Vidal-Puig A. Hypothalamic AMPK and fatty acid metabolism  mediate thyroid regulation of energy balance. Nat Med. 2010 Sep;16(9):1001-8.


Hagen RM, Rodriguez-Cuenca S, Vidal-Puig A. An allostatic control of membrane lipid composition by SREBP1. FEBS Lett. 2010 Jun 18;584(12):2689-98.

Rodriguez-Cuenca S, Cochemé HM, Logan A, Abakumova I, Prime TA, Rose C, Vidal-Puig A, Smith AC, Rubinsztein DC, Fearnley IM, Jones BA, Pope S, Heales SJ, Lam BY, Neogi SG, McFarlane I, James AM, Smith RA, Murphy MP. Consequences of long-term oral administration of the mitochondria-targeted antioxidant MitoQ to wild-type mice. Free Radic Biol Med. 2010.

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