First involved with protein NMR, 1979-1981, Naples (IT). Postdoctoral work in muscle NMR with Michael Bárány and John L. Markley, in Chicago (IL) and Purdue (IN) USA, 1982-1985. Back in Spain (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, UAB) in September 1985, after achieving the Spanish accreditation for Tenured Assistant Professor (Idoneidades, Profesor Titular).
CA attracted funding associated to the 1992 Olympics at Barcelona (the Sandoz Sport Research project, 1989-1992), allowing him to extend postdoctoral work in skeletal muscle to the evaluation using 31P MRS of human muscle bioenergetics of elite athletes. Spanish state funding in 1988 allowed installing a 9.4T vertical bore NMR spectrometer for in vitro/ex vivo work with cells and tissues at UAB. This was initially applied to evaluating the diagnostic/prognostic capabilities of 1H NMR spectroscopy of biofluids and biopsies in mammary and colon tumours, followed by other models of cancer (cells, rats) for future translation to patients. This lead to collaborations after 1993 with the groups of Michel Décorps (INSERM, Grenoble, FR) and John Griffiths (Saint George’s Hospital, London, later at Cambridge University, UK), and with Jaume Gili, Institut de Diagnòstic per la Imatge (IDI) of Catalonia, and, later on, with neuro-radiologists, and neurosurgeons of IDI and from Hospital Universitari de Bellvitge (Carles Majós, Carles Aguilera, Juan José Acebes). This resulted in the description of the metabolite MRS-detected spectral pattern of preclinical glial brain tumours as contributed by the combination of NMR signals of a few cytosolic metabolites and triglycerides (the so-called “NMR-visible Mobile Lipids” or ML ), being those ML stored in intra or extracellular lipid droplets. Additional biochemical and biophysical characterization of ML in tumour cell lines allowed to correlate ML visibility with cellular proliferation rate and to propose for them a phospholipid carbon skeleton shuttling role, between plasma membrane and endoplasmic reticulum. Translational work on brain cancer led to his leading of the integrated EU project INTERPRET (2000-2002). INTERPRET used the 1H MRS detected metabolomics pattern to facilitate the non-invasive diagnosis and prognosis of brain tumours and other abnormal brain masses by clinicians. INTERPRET produced a user-friendly interface with significantly added value in a prospective evaluation. Funding for a 7T horizontal bore preclinical scanner in 2006 allowed the recording of molecular images of therapy response using multiple volume 1H MRS (spectroscopic imaging or MRSI). For this, a machine learning approach for MRSI data analysis was developed in collaboration with the group of Paulo Lisboa, UK. The group goals in the near future are to be translational with the preclinical results obtained and profiting from the clinical links established within the CIBER-BBN group coordinated by CA since 2007. We target improving early detection or brain tumour response to therapy and of relapse. This should allow optimization of standard radio-chemical therapeutic protocols and prompt switching to second line therapies, improving survival and quality of life of patients afflicted with brain tumours. Present interests: MR-based molecular imaging of brain tumours, for diagnosis, prognosis, therapy planning and immune system involvement surrogate biomarker detection.