Institute of Genetic Medicine

Staff Profile

Dr David Llobet-Navas

Newcastle University Research Fellow


Personal Biography

David Llobet-Navàs (Lleida, 1980) obtained his degree in Biology (1999-2003, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona). After a research internship he realized his PhD studies in the Institute of Biomedical Research in Lleida (IRB-Lleida) (2004-2009). In the laboratory of Xavier Matias-Guiu and Xavier Dolcet he was initiated in the study of molecular alterations involved in the development and progression of endometrial cancer. His work resulted in seven first-author publications in internationally recognized peer-reviewed journals and received, in 2010, a Premi Sant Jordi Award (August Pi i Sunyer Award of Biochemistry and Physiological Sciences) and the Extraordinary Doctorate Award to the best doctoral thesis by the University of Lleida.

During the course of his PhD he joined the laboratory of John C. Reed (The Sanford-Burnham Institute for Medical Research, 2007) and contributed to seminal studies deciphering the role of BCL-2, TRAF3 and TRAF2 in autoimmunity and Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia (CLL). To expand his scientific training he joined the laboratory of Jose Silva (Columbia University and The Mount Sinai School of Medicine, 2009-2015) where he studied the role of microRNAs in mammary gland development and cancer and worked in the identification of new tumour suppressors and breast cancer vulnerabilities by using genome-wide loss of function assays through pooled shRNA-miR screenings.

In 2016, thanks to an Independent Researcher Establishment Scheme Award, David has been recruited into the Institute of Genetic Medicine-Newcastle University where he has established his own group. Our work is currently funded by Newcastle University, the JGW-Patterson Foundation, The Academy of Medical Sciences and Fundacio La Marato de TV3.









Research Interests

To study the link between obesity and cancer development.


Recent studies indicate that 35% of the adult population (aged 20 years and older) worldwide is overweight (body mass index (BMI)=25 kg/m2 or greater), including 12% that is classified as obese (BMI >30 kg/m2). Obesity generates a profound economic burden beyond its evident health impact. As per average, treatment of obesity and associated comorbidities ranges from 2 to 7% of total health care costs per country, making the healthcare expenditures for an obese person 25% higher compared to a person of normal weight at any given age.

Obesity is associated with increased risk of certain types of cancers (e.g., breast and endometrial) and epidemiological studies suggest that 3 to 6% of new cancer cases per year and 3 to 9% of cancer deaths are attributable to high BMI. These exceptional estimations underscore the dramatic impact of high BMI in tumorigenesis and provide a realistic cancer preventive strategy by modulating BMI.

Although the mechanistic processes that could explain the intimate relation between obesity and cancer are multiple, preventative strategies are still based on dietary modifications or exercise regimens. By implementing a multidisciplinary approach based on molecular and cellular techniques combined with genome-wide functional assays, computational analysis, mouse models and patient tissue sample analysis, my research group will investigate how specific genes (regular coding and non-coding genes, particularly microRNAs) regulate fat tissue homeostasis and simultaneously impact tumorigenic events to design novel and complementary therapeutic approaches.