Basic Research in Neuroscience

Core research topic:
Energy homeostasis and its neuronal control

The overarching research goal of the MPI for Metabolism Research is to define the physiological regulatory principles in energy and glucose homeostasis as well as the genetically and environmental factors that alter energy and glucose homeostasis in disease. By achieving this goal, we aim to ultimately identify novel therapeutic targets as a first step to developing new treatments for obesity and obesity-associated diseases.

How research goals will be achieved

To this end, researchers of the Institute employ state-of-the-art methodologies and technologies to pursue translational research approaches ranging from studies on unraveling underlying molecular mechanisms in cultured cells to defining regulatory mechanisms in model organisms. Finally, hypotheses derived from these approaches are tested and validated through functional imaging in control human subjects as well as patients suffering from obesity and obesity-associated diseases.

Key interests of research groups at a glance

The In-vivo NMR focuses on regeneration of cerebral lesions, in particular stroke. Researchers pursue the goal of regeneration through implantation of (neural) stem cells and thereby explore their therapeutic potential.

The Multimodal Imaging of Brain Metabolism group combines invasive and non-invasive methods for the in vivo assessment of brain metabolism to study brain function under both healthy and pathological conditions.

The overall aim of the Neuronal Control of Metabolism group is to unravel the fundamental regulatory principles of how neurons sense nutritional cues and then to determine the neurocircuitry responsible for the coordinated adaptation of behavioral and autonomic outputs.

The goal of the Noncoding RNAs and Energy Honeostasis group is to identify sequence-specific ncRNAs depletion approaches for anti-obesity intervention.

Obesity-associated metabolic inflammation provides a potential link between Obesity and Cancer. The group investigates these and other links in mouse models of hepatocellular and colorectal cancer.

One of the unique aspects of the MPI-MR is the integration of fundamental biological research with applied research in human physiology and mechanisms of human diseases. The Translational Neurocircuitry Group complements and extends the basic research currently being pursued on metabolic processes with studies on human physiology as well as on clinical diseases and pertaining states.

Established research collaborations

Experimental work at the Institute is carried out in an interdisciplinary, highly interactive setting and is supported by several local core facilities. The Institute is located in the heart of the medical and natural sciences campus of the University and the University Hospital in Cologne. Our immediate neighbors and scientific partners are the natural science and medicine faculties of the University of Cologne, the Cologne Excellence Cluster on Cellular Stress Responses in Aging-Associated Diseases (CECAD), the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing, as well as the Center for Advanced Studies (CAESAR) in Bonn.

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