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Dr. Ana V. Villar

Phone: (+34) 942 206799 ext. 111 / Fax : (+34) 942 266399
Mailing address: IBBTEC. C/ Albert Einstein 22, PCTCAN, 39011 Santande​r

Research laboratory for molecular treatments against cardiac fibrosis


Principal Investigator

Dr. Ana V Villar, Associate Professor



  • Ana R. Palanca Cuñado (Assistant Professor)
  • David Maestro Lavín (Predoctoral)
  • Jorge Ruiz del Río (Predoctoral)
  • Óscar Moreno Saiz (Master)


Link to our Blog to keep you informed of our latest news!:

Lab Retreat 2019




Research lines

  •  Study of the molecular basis of pathology. Study of molecular mechanisms and molecular targets of pathological fibrosis related to Hsp90 and TGFβ.
  • Study the generation of new biotechnological nanodrugs and its application.
  • Generation of new diagnostic tools.

The group of the Associate Professor, Dr. Ana V Villar studies the molecular mechanisms related to the role of the Hsp90 chaperone and the TGFβ cytokine in their relationship with the phenomena of fibrosis as a basis for the search of new nano-biotechnological and genetic drugs. We studied the phenotype of knock out mice for the Hsp90α inducible isoform and the primary cells derived from the mouse, as well as the role of Hsp90 as molecular marker and / or therapeutic target of this pathology.

A second line of research looks for the generation of new therapies like the already patented one "Genetic Alert System" that is designed as a latent molecule that wakes up when the disease starts. In this area of research, we are also interested in new nanotools that combines liposomes and vesicles to create new carriers to reach in vivo pro-fibrotic targets. We are involved in the implementation of a new diagnostic plate.

Pathologies in study: Myocardial fibrosis/Scleroderma



  • January 2019-2021. Principal Investigator: Estudio in vivo de terapias moleculares de diseño y un nano-transportados genéticamente modificado contra la fibrosis cardiaca. Ministerio de Ciencia Innov y Univer (RTI2018-095214-B-I00).
  • January 2018-20. Principal Investigator: "Nanosensor test for fibrosis diagnosis in scleroderma patients". IDIVAL Foundation. Project code InnVal 17/22.
  • October 2018-20. Colaborator: Predictive study for the severity of the scleroderma disease. IDIVAL Foundation. Project code NextVal 18/10.
  • October 2018. Principal Investigator. Project "puente UC Sodercan": "Modular nanobiotechnological tools designed to detect and interfering with the key signaling route of cardiac fibrosis". Project code BIO2016-77367-C2-2-R.
  • May 2016-2018: Principal Investigator: "Modular nanobiotechnological tools designed to detect and interfere with the key signaling pathway of cardiac fibrosis in vivo". IDIVAL Foundation (InnVal 15/31).
  • April 2017-2020: Principal Investigator: "Genetic Alert System to prevent myocardial fibrosis. Ministerio de Ciencia Innov y Univer (BIO2015-72124-EXP).


Publications (last 7 years)

  • Reduction of cardiac TGFβ-mediated profibrotic events by inhibition of Hsp90 with engineered protein.
    Cáceres RA, Chavez T, Maestro D, Palanca AR, Bolado P, Madrazo F, Aires A, Cortajarena AL, Villar AV.

    Journal of Mol. Cel. Cardiol. Mol Cell Cardiol. 2018 Oct;123:75-87. [PubMed]

  • BMP-7 attenuates left ventricular remodelling under pressure overload and facilitates reverse remodelling and functional recovery. Merino D, Villar AV, García R, Tramullas M, Ruiz L, Ribas C, Cabezudo S, Nistal JF, Hurlé MA.
    Cardiovasc Res. 2016 Jun 1;110(3):331-45. doi: 10.1093/cvr/cvw076. Epub 2016 Apr 11. [PubMed]
  • Extracellular heat shock protein 90 binding to TGFβ receptor I participates in TGFβ-mediated collagen production in myocardial fibroblasts. García R, Merino D, Gómez JM, Nistal JF, Hurlé MA, Cortajarena AL, Villar AV.
    Cell Signal. 2016 Oct;28(10):1563-79. doi: 10.1016/j.cellsig.2016.07.003. Epub 2016 Jul 11. [PubMed]
  • p-SMAD2/3 and DICER promote pre-miR-21 processing during pressure overload-associated myocardial remodeling. García R, Nistal JF, Merino D, Price NL, Fernández-Hernando C, Beaumont J, González A, Hurlé MA, Villar AV. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2015 Jul;1852(7):1520-30. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2015.04.006. Epub 2015 Apr 15. [PubMed]
  • BAMBI (BMP and activin membrane-bound inhibitor) protects the murine heart from pressure-overload biomechanical stress by restraining TGF-β signaling. Villar AV, García R, Llano M, Cobo M, Merino D, Lantero A, Tramullas M, Hurlé JM, Hurlé MA, Nistal JF.
    Biochim Biophys Acta. Biological Basis of Disease. 2013;1832(2):323-35. [PubMed]
  • Myocardial and circulating levels of microRNA-21 reflect left ventricular fibrosis in aortic stenosis patients. Villar AV, García R, Merino D, Llano M, Cobo M, Montalvo C, Martín-Durán R, Hurlé MA, Nistal JF.
    Int J Cardiol. 2013 Sep 10;167(6):2875-81. [PubMed]
  • Chronic treatment with the opioid antagonist naltrexone favours μ-opioid receptor coupling to Gαz-protein subunits. Valdizán EM, Díaz A, Pilar-Cuéllar F, Lantero A, Mostany R, Villar AV, Laorden ML, Hurlé MA.
    Neuropharmacology. 2012; 62:757-64. [PubMed]
  • Androgens Contribute to Sex Differences in Myocardial Remodeling under Pressure Overload by a Mechanism Involving TGF-β. Montalvo C, Villar AV, Merino D, García R, Ares M, Llano M, Cobo M, Hurlé MA, Nistal JF.
    PLoS One. 2012;7(4):e35635. [PubMed]
  • Myocardial gene expression of microRNA-133a and myosin heavy and light chains, in conjunction with clinical parameters, predict regression of left ventricular hypertrophy after valve replacement in patients with aortic stenosis. Villar AV, Merino D, Wenner M, Llano M, Cobo M, Montalvo C, García R, Martín-Durán R, Hurlé JM, Hurlé MA, Nistal JF.
    Heart. 2011 97(14):1132-7. [PubMed]
  • Circulating levels of miR-133a predict the regression potential of left ventricular hypertrophy after valve replacement surgery in patients with aortic stenosis. García R1, Villar AV, Cobo M, Llano M, Martín-Durán R, Hurlé MA, Nistal JF.
    J Am Heart Assoc. 2013 Aug 15;2(4):e000211. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.113.000211. [PubMed]


Book Chapters

  • Villar AV, del Arco C,Flórez J. Libro: Farmacología Humana 6ª edicción. Capítulo 5:72-82.Titulado: Metabolismo de los fármacos. 2014. Director Jesús Flórez. Editorial: Elsevier Masson. (ISBN de la edición impresa 978-84-458-2316-3). "Farmacología Humana" 6ª edición, Dir: J. Flórez. Masson S. A., Barcelona, 2013.
  • Nistal FJ, Villar AV, García R, Hurlé MA. MicroRNA-133: Biomarker and Mediator of Cardiovascular Diseases. Biomarkers in Cardiovascular Disease, DOI 10.1007/978-94-007-7741-5_28-1. 2016.