Cutting-edge science for health

Healthy adipose tissue: role of FGF21 signaling

Laboratory of Adipose Tissue Biology

PhD project: Healthy adipose tissue: role of FGF21 signaling

In all mammals including humans, two types of adipose tissue are recognized, white and brown adipose tissue (WAT and BAT, respectively), which are engaged in two major distinct and opposite functions: energy storage (in WAT) and energy dissipation (in BAT). Our recent studies are focused on “healthy adipocytes” in WAT, which are relatively small fat cells endowed with a high capacity for mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation, triacylglycerol/fatty acid (TAG/FA) cycling and de novo lipogenesis. The “healthy adipocytes” could be induced in WAT by various factors that need to be better characterized. “Healthy adipocytes” provide beneficial local and systemic effects that could contribute to “metabolically healthy” obesity.

FGF21 (Fibroblast growth factor 21) is a hormone secreted mainly from liver in response to stimuli such as fasting and ketogenic diet. Although its main physiological role is still a contested topic, FGF21 has become a promising therapeutic target for obesity and Type 2 diabetes mellitus due to its powerful body weight-lowering and insulin-sensitizing effects.The main aim of the PhD project will be detailed characterization of FGF21 effects in WAT of model animals, namely changes in gene expression and rate of lipolysis, de novo lipogenesis and TAG/FA cycling. Since these metabolic processes are known to be linked to preservation of healthy status of the tissue, their potential regulation by FGF21 could thus represent an important part of the mechanism of overall beneficial action of FGF21.

Basic PhD scholarship will be supplemented by salary covered by grants of the Department.

Candidate’s profile (requirements)

We are seeking a motivated candidate with Master degree in biology, medicine, biochemistry, or similar (or those who are expected to obtain the degree this year). Experience with work in techniques of biochemistry and molecular biology and with rodent models and cell cultures will be considered as an advantage. 

Supervisor: Petr Zouhar, Ph.D.; advisor: Jan Kopecky, MD, PhD

Relevant publications:

Kuda, Ondrej -  Rossmeisl, Martin -  Kopecky, Jan. Omega-3 fatty acids and adipose tissue biology. Molecular Aspects of Medicine. 2018, 64, 147 – 160.

Flachs, Pavel - Adamcová, Kateřina - Zouhar, Petr - Marques, C. - Janovská, Petra - Viegas, I. - Jones, J. G. - Bardová, Kristina - Svobodová, Michaela - Hansíková, Jana - Kuda, Ondřej - Rossmeisl, Martin - Liisberg, U. - Borkowska, A. G. - Kristiansen, K. - Madsen, L. - Kopecký, Jan . Induction of lipogenesis in white fat during cold exposure in mice: link to lean phenotype. International Journal of Obesity. 2017, 41, 372-380.