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Image: Mattias Pettersson

Chorell Research Lab

Research group Our research group focuses on obesity-related diseases and their connection to type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. We investigate how increased fat storage affects organs and disease development, with a special emphasis on sphingolipid metabolism and bioactive lipids. Our goal is to identify early risk markers and enable effective preventive measures for these prevalent public health concerns.

Obesity-related diseases are a growing global concern, with a significant impact on public health. At our research group, we are dedicated to delving into the intricate world of lipids and their pivotal role in conditions like type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. By investigating the molecular mechanisms underlying ectopic lipids and the enigmatic sphingolipids, we aim to shed light on these complex health issues.

Sphingolipids, aptly named after the Sphinx due to their cryptic nature, are our main focus. We believe that understanding these bioactive lipids holds the key to unraveling the mysteries of obesity-related diseases. Our research dives deep into the molecular world of sphingolipids to discern their contribution to the development of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Our research group is passionate about deciphering the role of lipids in obesity-related diseases. With a keen focus on sphingolipids, we aim to uncover the mysteries of these bioactive lipids and their involvement in conditions like type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. By examining molecular mechanisms, insulin sensitivity, insulin secretion, atherosclerosis, and lipid species resolution, we are dedicated to advancing the understanding of these complex health issues for the betterment of society.

Research project (skapa separat som projektsidor?!)

Project 1: Deciphering Altered Insulin Sensitivity: One crucial aspect of our work is understanding how altered insulin sensitivity occurs. We concentrate on sphingolipid metabolism within skeletal muscle and adipose tissue, examining how it impacts glucose uptake and insulin sensitivity. Our findings from human biopsies are meticulously analyzed in mouse models and cell systems, allowing us to investigate the precise molecular mechanisms linked to sphingolipid metabolism.

Project 2: Unraveling Altered Insulin Secretion: In the realm of insulin secretion, we are exploring the diverse world of sphingolipid subspecies and their regulatory roles. Our investigations extend to the pancreatic islets of Langerhans in both humans and mice with varying insulin secretion capacities. We are also striving to identify biomarkers that can signal altered insulin secretion well before the onset of type 2 diabetes and during diabetes remission.

Project 3: Understanding Atherosclerotic Plaque Progression: Atherosclerosis remains a major concern in cardiovascular health. Our aim is to investigate molecular mechanisms and markers associated with the progression of atherosclerotic plaques and related cardiovascular disease. Our research extends to large-scale cohorts, with a focus on circulating indicators of vulnerable plaque aggregation and progression. We aim to validate our findings in comprehensive cohort studies such as VIPVIZA and SCAPIS.

Project 4: Enhancing the Resolution of Lipid Species: To fully comprehend the biological activity of lipids, we are committed to enhancing the resolution of detected lipid species. This is a pivotal component of all our projects. Collaborating closely with the Swedish Metabolomics Centre , we strive to develop advanced mass spectrometry-based methods that will push the boundaries of lipid research.

Head of research

Elin Chorell
Associate professor


Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine

Research area

Molecular medicine
Jian-Feng Mao and Cemal Erdem sit across from each other at a white table and discuss.
Cemal Erdem and Elin Chorell seek collaborators at a Lunch Pitch

The pitches covered cancer and disease modeling and the role of sphingolipids in metabolic diseases.

Latest update: 2023-10-17