We are delighted that Alexander Bartelt has won a Starting Grant from the ERC for a research project named PROTEOFIT. These grants are specifically intended for early-career researchers, and are among the most sought-after awards available in Europe.
Bartelt's research focuses on central mechanisms in human metabolism. “Like cancer, metabolism is an area of medical research in which one can make a real impact. Scientific advances in metabolism have a beneficial effect on the lives of very many people.” He continued to work on BAT, which uses its lipid reserves to maintain body temperature (unlike white adipose tissue which serves as a storage depot). But now he posed a basic question: How do lipids get to adipose tissues? At the time, nobody really knew the answer, he says. He went on to reconstruct the underlying molecular processes and became an expert on the metabolism of lipids in BAT. Having spent 5 years at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, he joined the IPEK and set up his own research group last year. “Assuming the responsibility of becoming a group leader is the most critical step for a young researcher,” he points out. His group is now studying the molecular bases of metabolic diseases including atherosclerosis, diabetes and obesity.
Bartelt is pursuing two main projects. His group seeks to define how the heart copes with stress, while his ERC-funded project PROTEOFIT focuses on the molecular biology of metabolic processes in muscle cells and exercise. These projects may appear to have little in common, but both investigate the transcription factor Nfe2l1. This protein is found in muscle cells, in the BAT and in the heart, and the evidence indicates that it plays a key role in protecting these tissues against metabolic stress.
Source: News, Institute for Cardiovascular Prevention (IPEK)
Additional information: Since 2018 Prof. Alexander Bartelt is leading a DZHK junior research group, Stress management in the heart.