Immunity and Infection

Research group

Group Leader

Miguel López-Botet Arbona

The group integrates basic and clinical investigators from Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM) and Pompeu Fabra University (UPF). Our interest is mainly focused on the biology of human Natural Killer (NK) cells, involved in the innate immune response against infections and tumors. We originally reported that cytomegalovirus promotes a variable and persistent reconfiguration of the human NK cell compartment. We currently explore the nature of the underlying molecular and cellular mechanisms, as well as the involvement in antiviral defense and their implications in different clinical settings (e.g. congenital infection, kidney transplantation, cancer, múltiple sclerosis…), developing internal and external collaborations with several clinical teams.


Elisenda Alari Pahissa (Researcher)

Mercè Bonastre Garcia (Technician)

Mariona Cabo Ester (PhD Student)

Marcel Costa Garcia (PhD Student)

Ramón Gimeno Martínez (Researcher)

Gemma Heredia Díaz (Technician)

Mireia Llop Trujillano (Technician)

María López Montañés (PhD Student)

José Enrique Martínez Rodríguez (Researcher)

Antía Moreira Villanueva (Technician)

Aura Muntasell Castellví (Resercher)

Elvira Munteis Olivas (Researcher)

Mari Carmen Ochoa Nieto (Researcher)

Marta Pazos López (Researcher)

Jordi Pou Sánchez (Researcher)

Carme Sánchez Galiano (Research Assistant)

Laura Soria Guerrero (Technician)

Andrea Vera Barrón (Technician)


more info

Main Publications

• Baía D, Pou J, Jones D, Mandelboim O, Trowsdale J, Muntasell A, López-Botet M. Interaction of the LILRB1 inhibitory receptor with HLA class Ia dimers. Eur J Immunol 2016; 46:1681-90. IF 4.179. Q2.

• López-Botet M, Muntasell A. Natural Killer Cell-Based Immunotherapy in Acute Myeloid Leukemia: Lessons for the Future. Clin Cancer Res 2016; 22(8): 1831-1833. IF 8.738. Q1.

• Martínez-Rodríguez JE, Cobo-Calvo A, Villar LM, Munteis E, Blanco Y, Rasal R, Vera A, Muntasell A, Álvarez-Lafuente R, Saiz A, Álvarez-Cermeño JC, Roquer J, López-Botet M. Adaptive natural killer cell response to cytomegalovirus and disability progression in multiple sclerosis. Mult Scler 2016; 22(6): 741-752. IF 4.671. Q1.

• Muccio L, Bertaina A, Falco M, Pende D, Meazza R, López-Botet M, Moretta L, Locatelli F, Moretta A, Della Chiesa M. Analysis of memory-like Natural Killer cells in Human Cytomegalovirus-infected children undergoing αβ+T- and B-cell depleted HSCT for hematological malignancies. Haematologica 2016; 101(3): 371-381. IF 6.671. Q1.

• Muntasell A, Pupuleku A, Cisneros E, Vera A, Moraru M, Vilches C, López-Botet M. Relationship of NKG2C Copy Number with the Distribution of Distinct Cytomegalovirus-Induced Adaptive NK Cell Subsets. J Immunol 2016; 196(9): 3818-3827. IF 4.985. Q1.

• Pazos-López M, Yang H, Gardiner SK, Cepurna WO, Johnson EC, Morrison JC, Burgoyne CF. Expansions of the Neurovascular Scleral Canal and Contained Optic Nerve Occur Early in the Hypertonic Saline Rat Experimental Glaucoma Model. Exp Eye Res 2016; 145: 173-186. IF 2.998. Q1.

• Sánchez-Martínez D, Lanuza PM, Gómez N, Muntasell A, Cisneros E, Moraru M, Azaceta G, Anel A, Martínez-Lostao L, Villalba M, Palomera L, Vilches C, García Marco, Pardo J. Activated Allogeneic NK Cells Preferentially Kill Poor Prognosis B-Cell Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Cells. Front Immunol 2016; 7: 454. IF 5.695. Q1.

Ongoing Research Projects

• Development of molecular tools to enhance NK cell-mediated ADCC responses elicited by trastuzumab against breast cancer

− Worldwide Cancer Research (15-1146)

− From 2015 to 2018

− Principal investigators: López-Botet Arbona, Miguel; Muntasell Castellví, Aura


• Targeting natural killer cells against cytomegalovirus

− Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (PCIN-2015-191-C02-01)

− From 2015 to 2018

− Principal investigator: López-Botet Arbona, Miguel


• Estudio del valor pronóstico en la esclerosis múltiple de un nuevo biomarcador asociado a la infección por citomegalovirus

− Fondo de Investigación Sanitaria. ISCIII (PI14/00177)

− From 2015 to 2017

− Principal investigator: Martínez Rodríguez, José Enrique


• A multicenter prospective strategy to improve the cure of high-risk acute leukemias by fostering a platform for on-time allogeneic therapy in patients without an HLA-identical donor

− Fundació La Marató de TV3 (20133231)

− From 2014 to 2017

− Principal investigator: Gimeno Martínez, Ramón


Additional projects funded at UPF (

Participation in Research Networks

• Red Española de Esclerosis Múltiple (REEM)

− Fondo de Investigación Sanitaria-ISCIII. Subprograma RETICS. RD12/0032/0016

− Principal investigators: López-Botet Arbona, Miguel; Martínez Rodríguez, José Enrique


• Uncovering resistance to monoclonal antibodies in colorectal and breast cancer

− Proyectos integrados de Excelencia PIE15/00008. Fondo de Investigación Sanitaria. ISCIII

− Coordinator: Albanell, Joan

− Principal investigators: López-Botet, Miguel; Muntasell, Aura; García de Herreros, Antonio; Espinosa, Lluís; Furlong Laura; Bellosillo, Beatriz

Clinical Trials Signed in 2016

• Estudio multicéntrico de extensión abierta de RPC1063 oral en la esclerosis múltiple recidivante

− Register: RPC01-3001

− Principal investigator: Martínez Rodríguez, José Enrique


• Estudio abierto para evaluar la eficacia y la seguridad de ocrelizumab en pacientes con esclerosis múltiple remitente-recidivante que tienen una respuesta subóptima a un ciclo adecuado de tratamiento modificador de la enfermedad

− Register: MA30005

− Principal investigator: Martínez Rodríguez, José Enrique


• Estudio multicéntrico, aleatorizado, doble ciego, de grupos paralelos, de superioridad, con control activo, para comparar la eficacia y seguridad de ponesimod frente a teriflunomida en sujetos con esclerosis múltiple recidivante

− Register: AC-058B301

− Principal investigator: Martínez Rodríguez, José Enrique


• María López Montañés Influence of the NKG2C genotype in the development of adaptive NK cells and characterization of the antibody-mediated response to Epstein-Barr virus. Pompeu Fabra University

− Directors: López-Botet, Miguel; Muntasell, Aura

− Date of defense: 25/11/16

C/ Doctor Aiguader, 88

08003 Barcelona

(+34) 93 316 04 00