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Lipidomics Researcher Maps Lipid Transfer Between Cells

Contact Author Rachel Grabenhofer
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“[The] latest research shows that lipid metabolism plays a major role in the development of diabetes, cancer or Alzheimer’s," said Anne-Claude Gavin, Ph.D., of the University of Geneva. "Once we have a better understanding of the ways certain lipids cause which effect, we may pave the way for new potential treatment approaches.”

Gavin is the first-ever recipient of the Lipidomics Excellence Award (LEA), which was created to reward innovation and the drive for novelty in researchers who strike out in a new direction using lipidomics. The award is supported by Lipid Maps, SwissLipids and Lipotype; and media including the Journal of Lipid Research, LABO and transkript.

A Map to Success

Gavin was able to trace the ways lipids transfer between body cell membranes. From this, she created a molecular map of "lipid highways." It was this work that stood out in the eyes of LEA judges.

More specifically, according to Lipotype, an emerging player in lipid metabolism and its associated disorders is a group of disease-linked proteins known as lipid-transfer proteins. At least 131 lipid-transfer proteins have been found in humans. Some of them orchestrate the transfer of lipids between membranes, thereby spatially organizing lipids and connecting lipid metabolic pathways.

"Lipidomics helps us answer questions we would not even dare to ask without it. It opens doors that may hold the answer to our civilization diseases," Gavin said.

Indeed, lipidomics, among other omics, has been leveraged to reveal new insights in skin structure and function. It also has been cited as a potential path forward for personalized skin care.

About the Award

“We want to shine a light on the fact that lipid analyses really make the difference between research and groundbreaking research," said Kai Simons, Ph.D., professor and director emeritus at Max-Planck-Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics Dresden, and founder and CEO of Lipotype.

"By providing new data one gains an even deeper insight into the lipid cosmos. It is high time to seize the potentials. Let us see what there is still to discover." 

For more information, visit the Lipotype website.

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