Press Release

Biological and Medical Imaging

One Million Euros for Promoting Metabolic Research

Professor Daniel Razansky from the Institute for Biological and Medical Imaging (IBMI) together with international collaborators from Portugal and USA have been awarded a grant of over one million US dollars over the next three years. The funding comes from the Human Frontier Science Program.

Prof. Dr. Daniel Razansky. Source: Helmholtz Zentrum München

The International Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP)* organization funds scientific projects with innovative and creative potential in basic life sciences research. This funding is highly competitive, and this year only three percent of the applicants received an HFSP grant. In the newly funded project, researchers from Helmholtz Zentrum München, the Gulbenkian Science Institute in Portugal and Rockefeller University in the USA will team up to better understand the anatomy and function of neurons in the surrounding adipose tissue, combining novel techniques of genetics and optoacoustic tomography.

“It was recently found that activation of sympathetic neurons in adipocytes promotes fat breakdown,” said IBMI’s Prof.  Razansky. “In order to facilitate the development of new anti-obesity therapeutic strategies, we are now poised to map the neuroanatomical origin of the adipose tissue innervation.”

Multidisciplinary cooperation

In the multidisciplinary scientific team, the three research groups collaborate closely throughout all stages of the project. Prof. Domingos of the Gulbenkian Science Institute has recently experimentally demonstrated the existence of the adipose tissue innervation. To facilitate studies involving the sympathetic nervous system, the new project will combine Rockefeller’s Prof. Cohen expertise in the field of white and brown adipocyte biology and Razansky’s noninvasive methods for high-resolution molecular imaging.

The justification for the award of the HFSP grant highlighted the high scientific quality of the research teams and the proposed project, the potential for new conceptual advances and the holistic research approach. This approach is the key to understanding the dynamic regulation of the function of adipose tissue and the phenotypic and systemic metabolism and provides a starting point for the development of potential treatment options.

Further Information

*The Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) has been promoting international cooperation in the field of life sciences since 1989. The aim is to elucidate the complex mechanisms of living systems. The program is supported by Germany, Japan, Australia, Canada, France, Italy, Korea, Great Britain, USA, New Zealand, India, Switzerland and the European Union. The German contribution is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

As German Research Center for Environmental Health, Helmholtz Zentrum München pursues the goal of developing personalized medical approaches for the prevention and therapy of major common diseases such as diabetes mellitus and lung diseases. To achieve this, it investigates the interaction of genetics, environmental factors and lifestyle. The Helmholtz Zentrum München has about 2,300 staff members and is headquartered in Neuherberg in the north of Munich. Helmholtz Zentrum München is a member of the Helmholtz Association, a community of 18 scientific-technical and medical-biological research centers with a total of about 37,000 staff members.

The Institute for Biological and Medical Imaging (IBMI) conducts research into in vivo imaging technologies for the biosciences. It develops systems, theories and methods of imaging and image reconstruction as well as animal models to test new technologies at the biological, preclinical and clinical level. The aim is to provide innovative tools for biomedical laboratories, for diagnosis and for the therapeutic monitoring of human diseases.

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