Expression of Interest

Contact Person/Scientist in Charge

  • Name and surname: Pilar de Frutos
  • Email:

Instituto de Ganadería de Montaña (CSIC)

Department / Institute / Centre

  • Name: Instituto de Ganadería de Montaña (IGM, CSIC-ULE)
  • Address: Finca Marzanas. 24346-GRULLEROS
  • Province: León

Research Area

  • Life Sciences (LIF)

Brief description of the institution:

CSIC (Spanish National Research Council) is Spain’s largest public research institution, and ranks third among Europe’s largest research organizations. CSIC supports research and training across a wide range of knowledge, from the most basic or fundamental aspects of science to the most complex technological developments; from human and social sciences to food science and technology, including biology, biomedicine, physics, chemistry and materials, natural resources and agricultural sciences. As the third largest research organization in Europe, CSIC carries out research in all fields of knowledge, throughout its 123 Institutes spread across the country.
The Instituto de Ganadería de Montaña (IGM) is a Joint Research Institute partnership by the CSIC and the University of León. Its main research focus is on supporting, by a scientific approach, the improvement of management and technology used in traditional agro-livestock and silvopastoral systems, and to make the benefits they produce (both marketable and intangible [conservation of the environment and landscape]) better known. The research lines developed in the Institute are: 1) Ruminant Nutrition and Production; 2) Infectious diseases of ruminants; 3) Livestock systems and land use.
Most of the research developed at the IGM incorporates new methodologies (“omics” techniques, such as genomics, proteomics, lipidomics, metabolomics) as well as traditional techniques, which will promote production and innovation in agro-farming systems.

Brief description of the Centre/Research Group (including URL if applicable):

Our research group belongs to the department “Nutrition and Production of Herbivores” of the IGM, where we carry out our basic and applied research in the field of Ruminant Nutrition. Our area of expertise covers fields such as rumen function, digestive microbiology, plant secondary compounds, lipid metabolism, nutrigenomics, etc., which confers a valuable multidisciplinary nature to the team. Over the last 10-12 years, our main interest focuses on the nutritional regulation of lipid metabolism in the rumen and the mammary gland in small ruminants, with the final goal of modulating milk fatty acid composition towards a healthier profile for consumers. We are also involved in research about feed efficiency in dairy animals, within the framework of an EU H2020 project. The team has led and participated in a number of research projects, published over 70 articles in indexed jornal in the last 10 years, and supervised post-graduate students and post-doctoral scientists.

Project description:

Despite the demonization of milk fat, it is nowadays widely accepted that dairy foods contain bioactive lipids with an important role in the prevention of chronic and metabolic diseases. Some of these bioactive fatty acids (e.g., the conjugated linoleic acid -CLA-), are mostly synthesized endogenously in the mammary gland.

Furthermore, there is growing evidence about the feasibility of different livestock feeding strategies to improve naturally and effectively the concentration of health-promoting fatty acids in milk. However, their positive or negative effects on feed efficiency are still uncertain, and some of them induce the syndrome of milk fat depression, which results in economic losses for the dairy sector and precludes their implementation in farm conditions.

The research projects in which we are right now involved intend 1) to investigate the endogenous synthesis of potentially health-promoting fatty acids (e.g., CLA) to increase its concentration in milk fat, 2) to gain more in-depth knowledge of the milk fat depression syndrome, and 3) to elucidate mechanisms explaining the efficiency of feed utilization in dairy ewes. Aim 1 will be tackled through the use of stable istopes (13C-labeled fatty acids), and aims 2 and 3 through a holistic approach to integrate ruminal biohydrogenation of dietary lipids, rumen microbial composition, metabolomic profiles, and nutritional regulation of transcriptomic mechanisms mediating mammary lipogenesis.

Studies will be conducted in ovine and caprine, two species that are highly relevant in Mediterranean countries.


Candidates holding a PhD on Life Sciences (e.g., Animal Sciences, Veterinary, Nutritional Sciences or related areas) are welcome to apply. Applicants should send their CV and a letter of motivation to the following address:

Deadline: 31st July 2018

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