Area Representative

María Luaces Méndez

Curriculum vitae

Information area

Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death in developed countries, including Spain. For this reason, a major part of health policies and available health care resources are devoted to preventing these diseases and addressing the significant social and health burden they represent. Biomedical research has also focused, in particular, on cardiovascular diseases. Suffice it to recall that cardiology represents the medical speciality in which the largest number of randomised clinical trials have been generated. This dynamic has enabled the constant generation of new scientific evidence and the translation of new knowledge into clinical practice to improve patient care.

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Dr. Luaces earned a Licentiate degree with Extraordinary Prize from the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Santiago de Compostela. She is a specialist in Cardiology, trained at the Hospital Clínico San Carlos of Madrid. She furthered her training at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in the field of advanced cardiac imaging: Cardiac CT and Cardiac MRI. She obtained the degree of Doctor of Medicine and Surgery from the Complutense University of Madrid. She is Associate Professor in the Department of Physiology at the Complutense University of Madrid She works in the Cardiac Imaging Section of the Cardiology Department of the Hospital Clínico San Carlos and performs strategic scientific management tasks in the Innovation Unit of the Hospital Clínico San Carlos.


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The Health Research Institute (Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria) of the Hospital Clínico San Carlos of Madrid (IdISSC), in its mission to promote research excellence, wants to pay special attention to cardiovascular diseases. The IdISSC represents a new opportunity to promote, coordinate, and integrate the research generated in the cardiovascular area, both from the Hospital Clínico San Carlos (HCSC) and from the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM).

At the IdISSC, multiple scientific studies are carried out in different lines of research in the cardiovascular area. At the HCSC, the Cardiovascular Institute was created with the aim of encompassing the specialities most closely related to cardiovascular diseases, such as cardiology, cardiovascular surgery, vascular surgery, and a specific research unit. There are also dedicated cardiovascular prevention units within internal medicine and a vascular biology laboratory.

Most of the clinical research carried out at the IdISSC is conducted by physicians whose primary mission is hospital care. This is a challenge for these professionals who must carry out their research work without neglecting their clinical practice. However, this situation also represents an opportunity to ensure the clinical applicability of all projects. Daily contact with patients gives rise to a never-ending flow of new questions and ideas, and indeed explains why many physicians collaborate on several different research projects even on seemingly disparate topics.

Some of the projects are original projects, i.e., generated or coordinated by IdISSC. However, answering the most topical clinical questions generally requires pooling research efforts within collaborative networking strategies with other institutions, and for the development of national or international multi-centre projects. Moreover, quality research is expensive and often requires external collaboration with pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies.

Finally, the IdISSC favours the integration of cardiovascular research carried out by the most basic research groups at the UCM with that developed by the groups – mainly clinical research – at the HCSC, which will undoubtedly favour translational research, and the development of new synergies.

We are convinced that the scientific production in the cardiovascular area will represent a very important part of the overall activity of the IdISSC and that it will drive its consolidation and rapid development. In turn, the new general framework for coordination and management of research, and the methodological and infrastructural support provided by the IdISSC will undoubtedly boost cardiovascular research, improve its visibility, and facilitate greater dissemination of the scientific results obtained.

Within his research activity, her main area of interest is obesity-associated cardiac damage, where she leads a translational working group together with Prof. Cachofeiro from the Department of Physiology of the Faculty of Medicine of UCM. In this line, she is PI of different competitive research projects, both public and private, resulting in D1 and Q1 publications, and in the supervision of 3 doctoral theses so far.

Since 2011, she has been collaborating with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on biomedical innovation training programmes, leading the clinical curriculum. Currently, this collaboration is carried out in the context of the European Innovation Office- EIT Health (see