Eline Kuipers, MSc

Mitochondrial quality control to comBAT cardiometabolic health

Obesity is becoming a global problem and is associated with development of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. To counteract this trend, strategies that generate a ‘negative energy balance’ are highly needed. Brown adipose tissue (BAT) is seen as a new therapeutic target to combat obesity because of its capacity to burn fatty acids to produce heat, thereby contributing to energy expenditure. In order to combust nutrients towards heat, brown adipocytes rely on proper functioning mitochondria. A cell maintains mitochondrial integrity by a process called mitochondrial quality control.

My research focusses on the role of mitochondrial quality control in metabolism, in particular in brown adipose tissue. By performing mainly preclinical studies I will gain more insight in the different mitochondrial quality control pathways (fusion/fission, unfolded protein response, mitophagy etc.) as well as consequences of derailment in these pathways, for instance in obesity. My ultimate aim is to identify new therapeutic approaches to improve mitochondrial quality thereby improving cardiometabolic health.