Prof. José Manuel Fernández-Real is the project coordinator from the IDIBGI. From INSERM, the project will be led by Dr. Rémy Burcelin and from Enterosys SAS, the leadership will be in charge of Dr. Maxime Fontanié.


Prof. José Manuel Fernández-Real (M.D, Ph. D.)
Coordinator of the ThinkGut Project

With a degree in Medicine and Surgery and a doctorate in Medicine from the University of Barcelona (Spain), Prof. Fernández-Real has spent more than 25 years studying obesity, insulin resistance, and associated metabolic disorders. He is currently the director of the Medical Sciences Department at the University of Girona, the Director of Research in the Department of Endocrinology at Josep Trueta Hospital and the Scientific Director of Fatbank, a national biobank specialising in adipose tissue samples. He is also a principal researcher and member of the steering committee of CIBERobn, a network of excellence in obesity research in Spain.

Prof. Fernández-Real is the author of 5 patents, principal investigator in more than 20 competitive public funded projects and work packages leader in the European projects FLORINASH (FP7) and PEPPER (H2020). He is currently involved in three European projects:

  • SOPHIA, project of the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI)
  • HEROS, project of the Joint Programming Initiative ‘A Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life’ (HDHL-JPI)
  • SMARTAGE, project of the Innovative Training Network (ITN) of Excellence

With more than 457 publications in PubMed with an H index of 83, the Prof Fernández-Real has received several awards throughout his professional career, including Best Young Researcher (2000) and Best Diabetes Researcher (2012) from the Spanish Diabetes Society; the Research Career (2002) Award from the Academy of Medical Sciences of Catalonia and the Balearic Islands ; the Excellence in Research Award from the Catalan Medical Association (2005) and the Best Researcher Award from the Catalan Health Institute (2012).

  • Wifredo Ricart (M.D, Ph. D.) – Senior Researcher
  • Josep Puig (M.D, Ph. D.) – Senior Researcher
  • Mercè Fernández-Balsells (M.D, Ph. D.) – Senior Researcher
  • Yenny Leal (Ph. D.) – Project Manager
  • Oren Contreras-Rodriguez (Ph. D.) – Postdoctoral Researcher (Miguel Servet Program)
  • Jordi Mayneris-Perxachs (Ph. D.) – Postdoctoral Researcher (Miguel Servet Program)
  • Eduardo Esteve (M.D, Ph. D.) – Senior Researcher
  • María Arnoriaga-Rodríguez (M. D.) Predoctoral Researcher (Río Hortega Program)
  • Isma Ishaq (Senior Technician) – Support Staff
  • Cristina Planella (Ph. D.) – Senior Researcher
  • Irene Navarro (Msc.) – Support Staff
  • Núria Oliveras Cañellas (Msc.) – Predoctoral Researcher
  • Anna Motger (Msc.) – Support Staff
  • Sílvia Xargay-Torrent (Ph. D.) – International Project Manager
  • María Gifre – International Project Manager
  • Lluís Gallart
  • Laia Alsina
  • Gerard Pardo

Dr. Rémy Burcelín (Ph. D)
Research Director

Doctorate in 1992 in Paris at the Université Pierre et Marie Curie, followed by a post-doctoral fellowship at the Institute Monod in Paris working on the transcriptional regulation of gene expression in the liver (1993). Dr. Burcelin worked at the biotechnology company Modex Therapeutics (1995), where he led projects on cells expressing GLP-1. Then, he obtained a position as assistant professor at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland (1997). In 2000, he was awarded by the Max Cloetta Foundation. In 2001, he was offered a teaching position at the University of Toulouse, where he started the laboratory “Functional Genomics of Metabolic Diseases”. His knowledge of animal physiology and animal experimentation led him to finance his first PHYSIOGENEX SAS start-up in France (2003).

In 2008, he founded the European Association for the Study of Diabetes incremental study group. He was also the coordinator of the European project FLORINASH (FP7) for the study of intestinal microbiota and hepatic steatosis. In 2011, he founded Vaiomer, a biotechnology company to identify biomarkers, molecular targets and bacterial molecules that control cardio-metabolic diseases. Other companies such as Cardiomedex, Yvery and Ceredac were funded by his research and patents. Finally, in 2017, he co-founded Enterosys. He is currently the Director of Research at INSERM in France. His laboratory “Intestinal risk factor of diabetes, dyslipidemia, and heart failure” is located at the “Institute of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases” of the Rangueil Hospital in Toulouse, France.

  • Claude Knauf (Ph. D.) – Senior Researcher
  • Jason Iacovoni
  • Christophe Heymes (Ph. D.) – Senior Researcher
  • Vincent Blasco (Ph. D.) – Senior Researcher
  • Nathalie Boulet (Ph. D.) – Postdoctoral Researcher
  • Camille Champion (MSc) – Predoctoral Researcher
  • Alberic Germain – Master’s Student
  • Cécile Gautier – External Resources Manager

Maxime Fontanié (MBA)
Executive Director

An entrepreneur with an engineering degree and an executive MBA. He has extensive experience in pharmaceutical research and development, finance, strategy and business development. He began his career at the Institute National de la Santé Et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM). Then, he worked at Sanofi (2002), where he carried out a series of development projects focused on infectious and metabolic diseases as a team leader, international project manager and pharmacological scientist. In 2018, he was awarded a European grant (Eurostars) for the development of a new system for the delivery of an antibiotic for the treatment of lung infections in collaboration with Double Bond Pharma and Karolinska Institute (Sweden). In 2014, he co-founded Vibiosphen, a company specializing in infectious diseases and nosocomial infections, and in 2017, he co-founded Enterosys.

  • Anne Abot (Ph. D.) – Scientific Director

European Regional Development Fund

The ThinkGut project, co-financed at 65% by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Interreg V-A Spain-France-Andorra Programme (POCTEFA 2014-2020), has a total budget of 1.3 million euros.