Research projects

Vivid follows an interdisciplinary approach to investigate mechanisms involved in the early steps of diabetes development, interconnecting different disciplines of life sciences including biochemistry, biology, molecular biology, pharmacology, pediatrics, endocrinology and diabetology. To foster interdisciplinary research, the proposals are outlined as tandem projects where investigators combine their expertise to form unique research teams.

The research program of vivid comprises a total of 7 projects:

  • Project 1: Mechanisms of sex-specific programming of obesity and type 2 diabetes risk by peri-conceptional exposure to a maternal obesogenic milieu (PIs: Prof. Dr. Regina Ensenauer and Dr. Bengt-F. Belgardt; number of PhD positions: 2).
    Maternal overweigt is a strong risk factors for type 2 diabetes in the offspring. This project investigates the underlying mechanisms of prenatal programming of liver and adipose cells in a peri-conceptional diabetogenic environment (project description...

  • Project 2: Hyaluronan matrix in bone marrow adipose tissue: implications for the development and progression of insulin resistance (PI: Prof. Dr. Maria Grandoch, Co-PI: Prof. Dr. Jens W. Fischer; number of PhD positions: 1).
    Bone marrow adipose tissue (MAT) is a distinct specialized compartment contributing to systemic metabolism. The project studies the role of MAT in the early development of insulin resistance (project description...). 

  • Project 3: Role of mitochondrial function in lipid-induced insulin resistance (PIs: Prof. Dr. Michael Roden and Prof. Dr. Andreas Reichert; number of PhD positions: 2).
    Changes in oxidative phosphorylation and formation of mitochondrial cristae and crista junctions have been implicated in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes. The project focuses on these processes and their role in the progression of insulin resistance (project description...).  

  • Project 4: Metabolic flexibility in early diabetes development (PI: Dr. Alexandra Chadt, Co-PI Prof. Dr. Hadi Al-Hasani; number of PhD positions: 1). 
    An impaired balance of glucose and fatty acids as energy source in skeletal muscle is an early indicator of insulin resistance and diabetes. The project analyzes the impact of early nutritional challenges on energy substrate preference and metabolic health (project description...). 

  • Project 5: Role of Interleukin (IL-)6 trans-signaling in metainflammation and development of insulin resistance (PI: Prof. Dr. Jürgen Scheller, Co-PI: Prof. Dr. Hadi Al-Hasani; number of PhD positions: 1).
    Type 2 diabetes is accompanied by a chronic, low-grade metabolic inflammation (‘meta-inflammation’) which may already occur in early developmental stages and impact metabolism and disease progression throughout different stages of life. The project investigates the role of different (IL)-6 signaling routes and their role in diet-induced meta-inflammation early in life (project description...). 

  • Project 6: Exercise-triggered mechanisms contributing to beneficial metabolic responses and type 2 diabetes protection (PI: Prof. Dr. Hadi Al-Hasani, Co-PI Prof. Dr. Regina Ensenauer; number of PhD positions: 1).
    Physical exercise improves skeletal muscle insulin sensitivity. The project aims at identifying novel exercise-associated regulatory factors, cytokines/myokines and metabolites that explain the diabetes-protective effect (project description...).  

  • Project 7: Investigation of alternative mechanisms involved in the anti-diabetic effects of dextromethorphan (PI: Prof. Dr. Eckhard Lammert, Co-PI: Prof. Dr. Nikolaj Klöcker; number of PhD positions: 1).
    Blockade of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors has been shown to improve insulin secretion and survival of beta cells. The project aims to elucidate the molecular mechanism of NMDA receptor signaling, its modulation by inflammatory cytokines and protective effect of antagonists (project description...).  

Vivid promotes collaboration of MD and PhD researchers. Information on companion projects for MD student (Medizinische Doktorarbeiten) can be found here...

Overview of the research program

Responsible for the content: E-MailProf. Dr. Hadi Al-Hasani