Discover Emma's scientific side


The main objective of this doctoral thesis is to analyze the impact of running in non-elite runners over different metabolic systems, and how this is affected by previous training hours, race time, recovery time, body weight, diet, and specific supplementation.


Through a diet, health and anthropometry questionnaire, an analysis of bioimpedance vectors and saliva, blood and urine samples were taken at different time intervals (pre-race, post-race and 48 h post-race), evaluate the changes related to:


Quantifying creatine kinase (CK) and C-reactive protein (CRP).


Quantifying high sensitivity cardiac troponin T (Hs-TNT), pro-B type B natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP), tumorigenicity suppressor 2 (ST2), and lipid profile (triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein, high-density lipoproteins and cholesterol).


Quantifying salivary immunoglobulin A (sIgA), anti- inflammatory proteins (angiogenin, adipokine, sialic acid-binding Ig-like lectin 5), pro-inflammatory chemokines (growth-regulated oncogene-alpha, growth- regulated oncogene-beta, monocyte chemoattractant protein 1), and antimicrobial proteins (lactoferrin, lysozyme).


Quantifying creatinine, urea and sodium, and analyzing the bioelectrical impedance vector (BIVA).


And its objective has been to bring together the knowledge of different institutions, universities and hospitals, and to deepen a broad knowledge of the limits of a runner. The UPC, the Germans Trias i Pujol Hospital and the Hospital de Santa Creu i Sant Pau have participated, analyzing different variables of blood and saliva together with bioimpedance measurements and with an analysis of dietary intake.

We are currently forming a research group made up of researchers and doctors from the UPC and Can Ruti to continue researching health and sport. We want to deepen our understanding of the changes in the physiological, articular, renal, biochemical and cardiological fields that occur as a result of an endurance sporting event. Provide knowledge on the pathophysiological bases in the sports environment, to establish new prevention strategies and avoid undesirable consequences such as cardiovascular problems, kidney problems, muscle injury, joint injury and other derivatives in the short and long term.

Members of the research group :

Antoni Bayés-Genís


Department of Cardiology, Hospital Universitari Germans Trias i Pujol. Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Research Program, Fundació Institut d'Investigació en Ciències de la Salut Germans Trias i Pujol

Jose A. Hernández-Hermoso


Department of Orthopedic Surgery and Traumatology, Hospital Universitari Germans Trias i Pujol. Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Jordi Ara


Department of Nephrology. Hospital Universitari Germans Trias i Pujol

Paco Bogónez

Biomedical Engineering

Department of Electronic Engineering, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya

Lexa Nescolarde

Biomedical Engineering

Department of Electronic Engineering, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya

Emma Roca

Biomedical Engineering, Biochemist

Department of Electronic Engineering, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. Summit 2014 S.L, Centelles, Barcelona


Perhaps the best argument in favor of incorporating sport in our lives is to highlight the damage that sedentary lifestyle implies on the body. The latest statistics indicate one of the most wide spread epidemics on the entire planet. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), sedentary lifestyle is the fourth leading cause of death (6% of all deaths), surpassed by high blood pressure (13%), tobacco (9%) or high sugar levels in blood (6%). In fact, lack of physical activity has been directly related to 21-25% of breast and colorectal tumors; 27% of the cases of diabetes and 30% of ischemic heart disease.


The exponential increase in noncommunicable diseases indicates that it is no longer about fighting obesity (the great workhorse of public health policies in recent years), but about taking advantage of the benefits of physical activity to combat diseases and deaths premature. In this sense, the Spanish study Aniba (Anthropometry, Intake and Energy Balance in Spain) has provided a first decisive conclusion: we consume much fewer calories than a few decades ago, but we gain more weight. Specifically, our diet has decreased by 39.5% in caloric intake since 1964. However, overweight rates have continued to grow (49.2% of adults in 2003 and 53.7% in 2012) . The conclusion is therefore clear: you have to spend more calories because we do not burn enough.

Nutrition is an essential tool for sports life and, although the basis is always a healthy and well-balanced diet, it is true that the science of food has taken giant steps in its relationship with sports and adaptation to each individual. Currently, hundreds of studies circulate that analyze how caloric intake contributes to sports performance, which nutrients are most decisive for each stage of training and, above all, which diets are more appropriate. Regarding the latter, countless schools have also emerged that defend or attack the role of carbohydrates, extol or revile proteins, or advocate fasting forcertain types of exercises.

Within nutrition we can find different types according to the objectives.

Some examples are:


Training, pre-competition, during competition, post-competition, regeneration, injury prevention, autophagy, HC axis, microbiota, etc.

for health

Macronutrients /micronutrients, weight loss, disease prevention, immunity, microbiota, vegetarian / vegan, etc.

Nutrition for sleep / rest control

Correct recovery, regeneration, modulation of stress, circadian rhythm, microbiota, etc.

Anti-aging nutrition

Autophagy, circadianrhythm, telomeres, DHA, D3, depression, stress, microbiota, NRF2, etc.

Cognitive nutrition

Autophagy, NRF2, microbiota, ressoliòmics, stress, homocysteine, cholesterol, DHA, BDNF, adaptogens, , microbiota-brain-gut axis, etc.

Nutrition to combat stress

Modulators of cortisol (adaptogens), serotonin, gaba, microbiota, etc.


One of the sometimes forgotten pillars of health is emotional balance. It is very important to be well with oneself and with the environment that surrounds us. There are many ways to minimize a hostile, energetic negative environment, excessive oxidative stress, or simply a low emotional state.

One of the options is physical exercise with which we release endorphins, which are natural opiates in the body 20 times more powerful than pain relievers. They have a fundamental role in recovery and in essential functions for health: they calm you, create a state of well-being, improve mood, delay aging, reduce pain, enhance the functions of the immune system, reduce blood pressure, counteract elevated levels of adrenaline associated with anxiety, and others. But apart from physical exercise we also have meditation, nutrition and / or supplementation.


You have to consider the hours of sleep as a repair, restoration and memorization workshop. All the energy we expend during the day is replenished with night rest. And if the body does not have enough time, it is easy to enter a spiral of fatigue and overtraining that is harmful to health. In fact, the quality and quantity of sleep are directly related to aspects such as: cognitive performance, learning capacity, attention, mood, resistance to stress, physical performance, metabolic regulation of glucose, cortisol or growth hormone.

Therefore, much emphasis must be placed on aspects of sleep such as: hours of sleep, quality of sleep, regeneration-recovery, the circadian cycle, being able to relax or meditate, the hormonal aspect (HPA axis, tryptophan-serotonin-melatonin, gut microbiota), adaptogens or emotions.


It is very important in our lifestyle to avoid a series of aspects that can tip the balance from an optimal quality of life to a bad one. Therefore it is in our hands to avoid:

1. Chemicals, toxic (tobacco, inks, hygiene products, makeup etc...).
2. Herbicides, pesticides, endocrine disruptors, radiation, etc.
3. Ultra processed foods.
4. Malnutrition.
5. Unnecessary medication.
6. Stress.
7. Overweight-obesity.
8. Sedentary lifestyle.
9. Depression, social isolation.
10. Others.