European Research Council Advanced Grant awarded to Jens Brüning

Research into neuronal circuits for metabolic and nutritional control in the brain

April 11, 2024

Jens Brüning, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Metabolism Research, has been awarded an Advanced Grant by the European Research Council (ERC), the highest personal honour that the European Union can bestow on researchers. His research on neuronal circuits of metabolic control will be funded with 2.5 million euros over the next five years and could open up new avenues for drug discovery against obesity and related metabolic diseases.

The number of overweight and obese people is increasing worldwide. This makes them more susceptible to obesity-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. It is therefore crucial to understand how our brain regulates metabolism and controls what and how much we eat.

In his EU-funded project, Brüning aims to identify new groups of nerve cells that control metabolic processes in the hypothalamus, the brain's central control centre. He is particularly interested in the circuits that control the transition from fasting to eating and that are activated during the development of obesity. He will also investigate how the neurons themselves change during the development of obesity.

About Jens Brüning

Jens Brüning studied medicine at the University of Cologne. After graduating in medicine in 1992, he worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School and completed his specialist training in internal medicine at the University Hospital of Cologne. Since 2003, he has been a professor at the Institute of Genetics at the University of Cologne, where he was also scientific coordinator of the Cologne Cluster of Excellence for Ageing Research CECAD ("Cellular Stress Responses in Aging-Associated Diseases") from 2007 to 2019. Prof Brüning was awarded the prestigious German Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize in 2007. He has been Director of the Max Planck Institute for Metabolic Research in Cologne since 2011. Jens Brüning is also Director of the Department of Endocrinology, Diabetology and Preventive Medicine at the University Hospital of Cologne.

The European Research Council

Established by the European Union in 2007, the ERC is the first European funding organization for excellent frontier research. Each year, it selects the best and most creative researchers of all nationalities and ages to carry out projects in Europe. According to the ERC, ERC Advanced Grants are awarded to researchers who have already achieved significant research results and who stand out for the originality and significance of their research contributions. The research must be carried out at a public or private research institution in an EU Member State or Associated Country.

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