Malu Martínez-Chantar
Malu Martínez-Chantar
Liver Disease Lab
Address: Bizkaia Science and Technology Park, building 801A, Derio (Bizkaia)

Malu Martinez Chantar has an extensive experience in the study of liver biology, particularly NAFLD, to which she has dedicated all of her professional career. She has a very high-level track of record productivity with publications in a very high-percentage of publications of the 1st decile in the category of Nature, Nature Communications, Cell Metabolism, Hepatology and Gastroenterology. Since 2005, when she initiated her laboratory as a Principal Investigator and got “tenure” at CIC bioGUNE, Spain, her  laboratory work has been continuously financially supported by government and private funding competitive sources, both national and international. Remarkably, she has been co-PI of NIH with Dr. Lu (USC, Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles, USA) in the field of liver disease. She was one of the partners in an ambitious European project so called HEPADIP Consortium, which was created in response to the topic of the 3rd call for proposals in the EU FP6 Programme. Actually, she is the coordinator of the Traslational Area of the National Institute for the study of Liver and Gastrointestinal Diseases (CIBEREHD) and the Scientific Advisory Board of national and international centers. Finally, she is part of the select multinational group "Women in Hepatology" composed only of women, experts in the field of Hepatology, with representatives from Europe and USA.

She has also held several collaborations with Pharmaceutical companies with 5 resultant patent applications and 4 licensed products. Finally, she has maintained a closed collaboration with the company OWL Metabolomics in the development of OWLiver® Care and OWLiver®, two non-invasive assays for fatty liver screening and for NASH diagnosis.

Latest Publications


During 2015-2018 Liver Disease Lab (LDL) has published 35 peer reviewed articles, 18 of them in the first Decil (Nature Communicaton, Cell Metab, Nature, Hepatology, Gut, Gastroenterology etc) and  eleven of them  in the first quartile with an average impact factor of 9. We have been successful obtaining funding from different national and internationals agencies such as the Ministry of Economy Science and Competitiveness, Carlos III Health Institute, Foundations, crowdfunding and international projects derived from NIH. The visibility of our research group in the liver field has been intensified through an extensive participation in different national and international networks such as Ciberehd (Carlos III Health Institute), Women in Hepatology (International Consortium) and different European COST actions PROTEOSTASIS, TRANSAUTOPHAGY and MITOEAGLE.

Tutoring is an important factor in LDL and along these three years, nine PhD theses, 4 master's  and multiple undergraduate and technician students have been  trained. The co-direction of PhD students with different agencies like hospitals and technology centers has been of special relevance, contributing to enrich our research vision.

Regarding the research lines carried out in the LDL, we have generated three new areas of knowledge in this period of time, two of them practically unexplored, which have led us to be Cover Page of Hepatology in 2017 and to reach high impact journals such as Nature Communications, Gut or Cell Metabolism among others. These areas open new ways of knowledge in the liver field regarding metabolism, physiology and disease. These areas are a) post-translational modifications mainly NEDDylation b) Mitochondrial activity c) microRNAS and d) Magnesium metabolism.  In all of them, we have developed new biological tools, preclinical animal models and new therapeutic approaches that have ended in the generation of patents and the development of a robust translational research.

In fact, one of the relevant points during 2015 -2018 of LDL has been the transfer of our knowledge to biomedical and pharmaceuticals companies. We have generated three patents, all of them licensed and other two under development. Importantly, we have promoted the generation of Mitotherapeutix LLC (USA), a biopharmaceutical company that develops products for treatment of degenerative liver disorders, based on our R&D, with a first product in Phase I Clinical Trial and another molecule under development. We have also participated in the OWL Liver and OWL Test, the first test for non-invasive diagnose of NAFLD, currently commercialized.  We have actively collaborated with international companies such as Takeda Pharmaceutical and AGIOS in preclinical trials of their drugs and we have formal initiatives to transfer our R&D to important pharmaceutical companies. Regarding Basque Health cluster we have generated and consolidate initiatives with technological Engineers Centers (bioGUNE / TEKNIKER) with the aim to validate a candidate molecule as a predictive circulating marker of liver injury developing a promising low-cost effective Point-Of-Care technology to facilitate diagnosis and monitoring solutions in primary healthcare centers, pharmaceutical industry and for consumers
Therefore, in these three years we have generated knowledge, an extensive network of collaborations and we have proven preclinical models and transfer our R&D to national and international pharmaceutical companies.

Latest Publications

Neddylation orchestrates the complex transcriptional and posttranscriptional program that drives Schwann cell myelination.

Ayuso-Garcia, Paula; Sanchez-Rueda, Alejandro; Velasco-Aviles, Sergio; Tamayo-Caro, Miguel; Ferrer-Pinos, Aroa; Huarte-Sebastian, Cecilia; Alvarez, Vanesa; Riobello, Cristina; Jimenez-Vega, ...

Science advances


Biochemical and structural impact of two novel missense mutations in cystathionine beta-synthase gene associated with homocystinuria.

Al-Sadeq, Duaa W; Conter, Carolina; Thanassoulas, Angelos; Al-Dewik, Nader; Safieh-Garabedian, Bared; Martinez-Cruz, Luis Alfonso; Nasrallah, Gheyath K; Astegno, Alessandra; Nomikos, Michail; ...

The Biochemical journal


SUMOylation controls Hu antigen R posttranscriptional activity in liver cancer.

Lachiondo-Ortega, Sofia; Rejano-Gordillo, Claudia M; Simon, Jorge; Lopitz-Otsoa, Fernando; C Delgado, Teresa; Mazan-Mamczarz, Krystyna; Goikoetxea-Usandizaga, Naroa; Zapata-Pavas, L Estefania; ...

Cell reports


Effect of Gracilaria vermiculophylla Macroalga on Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in Obese Rats

González-Arceo, M; Aguirre, L; Macarulla, MT; Gil-Pitarch, C; Martínez-Chantar, ML; Portillo, MP; Gómez-Zorita, S;



p63 controls metabolic activation of hepatic stellate cells and fibrosis via an HER2-ACC1 pathway

Fondevila, MF; Novoa, E; Gonzalez-Rellan, MJ; Fernandez, U; Heras, V; Porteiro, B; Parracho, T; Dorta, V; Riobello, C; Lima, ND; Seoane, S; Garcia-Vence, M; Chantada-Vazquez, MP; Bravo, SB; ...



Anti-miR-873-5p improves alcohol-related liver disease by enhancing hepatic deacetylation via SIRT1

Rodríguez-Agudo, R; González-Recio, I; Serrano-Maciá, M; Bravo, M; Petrov, P; Blaya, D; Herranz, JM; Mercado-Gómez, M; Rejano-Gordillo, CM; Lachiondo-Ortega, S; Gil-Pitarch, C; Azkargorta, M; ...



Mitochondrial dysfunction-associated microbiota establishes a transmissible refractory response to anti-TNF therapy during ulcerative colitis

Peña-Cearra, A; Castelo, J; Lavín, JL; Gonzalez-Lopez, M; Pascual-Itoiz, MA; Fuertes, M; de Juan, VG; Bárcena, L; Martín-Ruiz, I; Pellón, A; Seoane, I; Barriales, D; Palacios, A; Fullaondo, ...



Ratiometric Fluorescent Sensors Illuminate Cellular Magnesium Imbalance in a Model of Acetaminophen-Induced Liver Injury

Brady, M; Shchepetkina, VI; González-Recio, I; Martínez-Chantar, ML; Buccella, D;



Identification and experimental validation of druggable epigenetic targets in hepatoblastoma

Claveria-Cabello, A; Herranz, JM; Latasa, MU; Arechederra, M; Uriarte, I; Pineda-Lucena, A; Prosper, F; Berraondo, P; Alonso, C; Sangro, B; Marin, JJG; Martinez-Chantar, ML; Ciordia, S; Corrales, ...



Neddylation of phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase 1 controls glucose metabolism

Gonzalez-Rellan, MJ; Fernández, U; Parracho, T; Novoa, E; Fondevila, MF; Lima, ND; Ramos, L; Rodríguez, A; Serrano-Maciá, M; Perez-Mejias, G; Chantada-Vazquez, P; Riobello, C; Veyrat-Durebex, ...



The outcome of boosting mitochondrial activity in alcohol-associated liver disease is organ-dependent

Goikoetxea-Usandizaga, N; Bravo, M; Egia-Mendikute, L; Abecia, L; Serrano-Maciá, M; Urdinguio, RG; Clos-García, M; Rodríguez-Agudo, R; Araujo-Legido, R; López-Bermudo, L; Delgado, TC; Lachiondo-Ortega, ...



Hepatocyte-specific O-GlcNAc transferase downregulation ameliorates nonalcoholic steatohepatitis by improving mitochondrial function

Gonzalez-Rellan, MJ; Parracho, T; Heras, V; Rodriguez, A; Fondevila, MF; Novoa, E; Lima, N; Varela-Rey, M; Senra, A; Chantada-Vazquez, MDP; Ameneiro, C; Bernardo, G; Fernandez-Ramos, D; Lopitz-Otsoa, ...



Dissecting the role of the NADPH oxidase NOX4 in TGF-beta signaling in hepatocellular carcinoma

Espinosa-Sotelo, R; Fusté, NP; Peñuelas-Haro, I; Alay, A; Pons, G; Almodóvar, X; Albaladejo, J; Sánchez-Vera, I; Bonilla-Amadeo, R; Dituri, F; Serino, G; Ramos, E; Serrano, T; Calvo, M; Martínez-Chantar, ...



Hepatic levels of S-adenosylmethionine regulate the adaptive response to fasting

Capelo-Diz, A; Lachiondo-Ortega, S; Fernández-Ramos, D; Cañas-Martín, J; Goikoetxea-Usandizaga, N; Serrano-Maciá, M; González-Rellan, MJ; Mosca, L; Blazquez-Vicens, J; Tinahones-Ruano, A; Fondevila, ...



Magnesium and Liver Metabolism Through the Lifespan

Bravo, M; Simón, J; González-Recio, I; Martinez-Cruz, LA; Goikoetxea-Usandizaga, N; Martínez-Chantar, ML;



Exogenous aralar/slc25a12 can replace citrin/slc25a13 as malate aspartate shuttle component in liver

González-Moreno, L; Santamaría-Cano, A; Paradela, A; Martínez-Chantar, ML; Martín, MA; Pérez-Carreras, M; García-Picazo, A; Vázquez, J; Calvo, E; González-Aseguinolaza, G; Saheki, T; del Arco, ...



Nicotinamide N-methyltransferase (NNMT) regulates the glucocorticoid signaling pathway during the early phase of adipogenesis

Roberti, A; Tejedor, JR; Díaz-Moreno, I; López, V; Santamarina-Ojeda, P; Pérez, RF; Urdinguio, RG; Concellón, C; Martínez-Chantar, ML; Fernández-Morera, JL; Díaz-Quintana, A; del Amo, V; Fernández, ...



Feasibility, safety, and outcome of second-line nivolumab/bevacizumab in liver transplant patients with recurrent hepatocellular carcinoma

Di Marco, L; Pivetti, A; Foschi, FG; DAmico, R; Schepis, F; Caporali, C; Casari, F; Lasagni, S; Critelli, RM; Milosa, F; Romanzi, A; Marcelli, G; De Maria, N; Romagnoli, D; Catellani, B; Sciano, ...



Research Priorities for Precision Medicine in NAFLD

Iruzubieta, P; Bataller, R; Arias-Loste, MT; Arrese, M; Calleja, JL; Castro-Narro, G; Cusi, K; Dillon, JF; Martínez-Chantar, ML; Mateo, M; Pérez, A; Rinella, ME; Romero-Gómez, M; Schattenberg, ...



Structural basis of the inhibition of cystathionine γ-lyase from Toxoplasma gondii by propargylglycine and cysteine

Fernández-Rodríguez, C; Conter, C; Oyenarte, I; Favretto, F; Quintana, I; Martinez-Chantar, ML; Astegno, A; Martínez-Cruz, LA;