CBBM Lecture "BAT-you are all wrong, I tell you how it really works-Mitochondrial Biology of Metabolic Disease "

by Martin Jastroch, PhD,

Head of Unit Mitochondrial Biology,

Institute for Diabetes and Obesity (IDO),

Helmholtz Center Munich

will take place on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 from 17:15 to 18:15 hours in CBBM Building, EG, Room 50/51.

Host: Prof. Dr. Jens Mittag
Research Group Molecular Endocrinology
Center of Brain, Behavior and Metabolism


Metabolic diseases represent a major health burden of our modern society, caused by imbalanced energy homeostasis. Current obesity and diabetes research aims to increase energy expenditure to combust surplus calories. Adipose tissue that potentially enables heat production through proton leak catalyzed by mitochondrial uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) has been recently re-discovered in adult humans and is currently considered a major target for the treatment of metabolic diseases.

My laboratory aims to unravel mechanisms how mitochondrial efficiency has evolved and how it is regulated, focusing on the mitochondrial proton leak. Thus, we are experienced with the appropriate methods to quantify UCP1 function and adipose tissue energy metabolism.

In a major project, we started focusing on evolutionary medicine of BAT and UCP1. Currently, we apply comparative biochemistry and transcriptomics of distantly related mammalian species to identify conserved structure-function relationships of UCP1 and metabolic/thermogenic wiring of transcriptional and protein networks in adipose tissue, aiming to determine proximate and ultimate factors that allow heat production in adipose tissue. We are confident that molecular selection processes during the course of evolution that perfectly constructed thermogenic adipose tissue de novo will assist therapeutic efforts to recruit and activate human thermogenic adipose tissue to improve health.


Dr. Martin Jastroch researches the mechanisms, integration, physiology and pathophysiology of cellular and mitochondrial energy metabolism.

His interest in the evolution of thermoregulation was sparked during his studies abroad at the University of Southern Queensland, Australia (2000), followed by several subsequent research stays. After concluding his diploma studies in Biology (2003), he received his Ph.D. at the Philipps University of Marburg, majoring in Animal Physiology (2007).

He expanded his expertise in mitochondrial bioenergetics through a DAAD-funded research visit in Mitochondrial Laboratory of Dr. Martin Brand at the MBU, Cambridge University (2004). In 2008, Dr. Jastroch went for his postdoctoral work to the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, California, USA. In 2011, he was recruited as group leader and head of unit Mitochondrial Biology at the Institute for Diabetes and Obesity, Helmholtz Zentrum Munich. Since 2016, he is also appointed Deputy Professor for Animal Physiology at the Philipps University in Marburg.