CBBM Lecture "Genetic and epigenetic impact on the development of obesity and type 2 diabetes"

by Prof. Dr. Annette Schürmann, Department of Experimental Diabetology, German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbruecke, Germany

will take place on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 from 17:15 to 18:15 hours in CBBM Building, Ground Floor, Seminar Room B1/B2.

Host: Prof. Dr. Henrik Oster
Institute of Neurobiology
University of Lübeck


The cause of obesity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes (T2D) is multifactorial including genetic, epigenetic and environmental factors. In order to identify genes and pathways that are contributing to obesity and dysregulated in T2D we combined linkage studies with transcriptome data of lean and obese as well as of diabetes-prone and diabetes-resistant mice. We identified more than 290 QTL for obesity and 190 QTL for diabetes-related traits. I will introduce the approach of positional cloning for the identification of new disease genes. In addition, I will speak about the role of cilia-annotated genes which exhibit a differential expression in islets of control and diabetic mice and human and show their effects on cell-cycle progression.

In the second part, I will present data on the identification of epigenetic alterations contributing to body weight gain, fatty liver and diabetes. For this we use genetically identical mice which react with different body weight gain on a high fat diet, or which differ in the develop of diabetes. We identified several genes to be differentially expressed in the liver due to changes in the DNA methylation. Up to know we confirmed similar changes for the human DPP4 and IGFBP2 genes in liver and blood cells, respectively. Thus, our data indicate that specific mouse models are ideal to identify new diseases genes and epigenetic alterations also relevant for human.


Annette Schürmann studied biology at the Universities of Münster and Göttingen (Germany) from 1981 to 1987 and performed her PhD in biology in 1991. She worked as a Postdoc at the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Aachen (RWTH) from 1991 to 1997. In 1997 she received her habilitation in pharmacology. After a 15-month research stay at the Department of Immunology La Jolla at the Scripps Research Institute in California (US), she returned to RWTH Aachen University in 1999, where she worked as Senior Research Assistant at the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology. In July 2002 she was appointed associate professor of RWTH Aachen University. Annette Schürmann has been working at the German Institute for Human Nutrition in Potsdam-Rehbrücke (DIfE) since 2002 - initially as Deputy Head of the Department of Pharmacology (2002 - 2009) and finally as Head of the Endocrine Pharmacology Group (2004 - 2009). Since October 2009, Annette Schürmann heads the Department of Experimental Diabetology at the DIfE and since 2016 she is the speaker of the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD).