Defining mechanisms of mitochondrial redox control over adipose function for treatment of metabolic disorders

Year of award: 2016


  • Dr Edward Chouchani

    University of Cambridge

Project summary

Obesity is a global epidemic fuelled by ageing populations and poor dietary habits. The health consequences of obesity are widespread and escalating as it’s a major risk factor for leading causes of death including diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. The results are ever-expanding numbers of chronically ill individuals, unsustainable healthcare expenses, and the prediction that the current generation will have a shorter lifespan than those previous.

Accumulation of white fat drives obesity. We now know that a second type of healthy ‘brown’ fat can counteract obesity and diabetes. Recently, I showed that the anti-obesity effects of this healthy brown fat can be stimulated by metabolic signals called mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (mtROS). Different mtROS signals are also thought to be important for the deadly consequences of unhealthy white fat. If we understand how these critical signals act differently in healthy versus unhealthy adipose, we can manipulate them as a new way of treating metabolic disease.

My research focus is to understand how mtROS signals in fat can be manipulated. This will provide new strategies for treating obesity and related metabolic disorders.