Wellcome Trust Early-Career Award for Hannes Maib

Published on 17 October 2022

Dr Hannes Maib has been awarded a 5-year Wellcome Trust Early-Career Award that will allow him to establish his own independent laboratory at the University of Sheffield.

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From left to right: Dr David Murray and Dr Hannes Maib

Currently a postdoctoral researcher in Dr David Murray’s laboratory in the Division of Cell and Developmental Biology, he will start his new role in the Spring.

“Cells are the basic building blocks of life and fulfil crucial functions in health and disease. Among these, is to store and utilize fats and nutrients that we take up with our food to fuel our energy demand. To achieve this, the lipids and fatty acids in our diet are broken down are stored in special compartments within our cells, so called Lipid Droplets. In times of stress and high energy demand, these fatty acids have to be passed on to other, specialized compartments in our cells to be broken down and used as fuel. Because fat does not dissolve in water, this handover requires the direct physical contact of different cellular compartments. However very little is known about how these different compartments communicate with each other to ensure that lipids are efficiently transported from one to the other. My research will aim to address these outstanding questions and shed light on the mechanisms by which different compartments in our cells communicate,” explained Hannes.

“Breaking down and using fat is key towards a healthy life. Conditions where this process goes wrong are associated with a range of diseases, ranging from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease to spastic paraplegia and lipid storage diseases. By better understanding the process of how fatty acids are being moved throughout the cell and used as fuel, we will be able to better understand what happens in disease state. Ultimately, this knowledge will inspire and guide novel ways to interfere with disease,” Hannes concluded.

More information on the scheme is available on the Wellcome website.

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