Sander Kooijman, PhD

In 2011, I started as a PhD student funded by the Dutch Heart Foundation at the Dept. Medicine. Div. Endocrinology, on the role of the brain in lipid metabolism and inflammation, and the consequences for cardiovascular disease (CVD). During my PhD project we identified the cholinergic reflex as an important mediator in controlling the inflammatory response (J Thromb Haemost 2015; Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 2015). Since the re-discovery that brown adipose tissue (BAT) is present and functional in adults and holds great promise as a therapeutic target for obesity and related disorders including CVD, BAT became a major focus of my research. We have discovered novel targets that modulate BAT, both directly (e.g. AMPK, CB1R, USF-1) and via the brain (e.g. MC4R, GLP-1R, β3AR) to show that BAT activation attenuates obesity, reduces diabetes risk (e.g. J Lipid Res 2014; FASEB J 2014; Diabetes 2015; Diabetologia 2015; Sci Transl Med 2016) and even protects from atherosclerosis (Nat Commun 2015; Circ Res 2016). In very recent studies, I identified the biological clock as an important regulator of BAT function (PNAS USA 2015). As a post-doc in collaboration with the University of Oxford funded by the ‘CardioVascular Research Netherlands’ (CVON-GENIUS) and the European Foundation for the Study of Diabetes, I currently perform studies to validate in humans the BAT-related concepts that I previously established in preclinical experiments.

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