Metabolism keeps cells and organisms alive, by giving them the energy they need to carry on and the building blocks they require for growth and propagation. In various diseases, like metabolic syndrome, normal metabolism is disrupted. The fellows below study skeletal muscle energy metabolism and epigenetics of obesity, as well as non-alchoholic fatty liver disease.

Andrea Dalmao Fernández

Andrea Dalmao Fernández

Country of origin: Spain
Hosts: Hege Thoresen, Arild Rustan and Eili Tranheim Kase
Group: Muscle Research Group
Thematic area: Energy metabolism
Project title: Development of a 3D cell-model of myotubes as a useful tool to study the effects of n-3 fatty acids to counteract obesity and improve muscle functions.

My project

Obesity has increased dramatically in the last decades, becoming an epidemic disease, which affects more than 650 million people worldwide (World Health Organization data). Different lifestyle interventions such as an increased intake of long-chain polyunsaturated n-3 fatty acids (n-3 PUFA) may have a significant impact on whole-body energy metabolism, promoting body weight regulation by lipid metabolism conversion and muscle function improvement.

By studying myotubes from lean and obese donors establish in a 3D cell-model before and after 10 weeks n-3 PUFA supplementation, we will improve current knowledge about the impact of diet interventions combining clinical and basic research data.

The development of a 3D cell-model will help us to increase the confidence of the in vitro results as well as to improve the knowledge on cell and energy metabolism providing a better understanding of diet interventions related to a physiological environment.

Sadia Saeed

Portrait of Sadia Saeed

Country of origin: Pakistan
Host: Yvonne Böttcher
Group: Department of Clinical Molecular Biology (EpiGen), Institute of Clinical Medicine
Thematic area: Genetics, epigenetics of obesity, adipose tissue, fat distribution
Project title: Chromatin accessibility landscape and regulatory epigenome in obesity.

My project

Obesity is a complex metabolic disease affecting an alarmingly large part of the world’s population. Moreover, obesity increases the risk of other comorbidities including cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and fatty liver diseases etc.  Depot-specific fat accumulation e.g. fat storage in visceral adipose tissue (VAT) strongly correlates with a higher risk of metabolic comorbidities as compare to accumulation of subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT). The current projects aims to decipher the chromatin architecture differences in terms of its accessibility and downstream gene expression in different fat depots. We will use genome-wide chromatin accessibility and transcriptomic maps generated from obese individuals to unravel the fat depot-specific epigenetic regulation.

Together, our work will provide a powerful framework to identify epigenetic hotspots involved in setting up adipose tissue depot-specific chromatin signature and ultimately its role in obesity and related comorbidities.