DZD Scientist Receives ERC Grant

Prof. Dr. Paul Pfluger from the DZD partner Helmholtz Zentrum München has been awarded an ERC Consolidator Grant. He receives the honor for his cutting-edge biomedical research in the field of metabolic diseases. This is already the eighth ERC grant awarded by the European Research Council (ERC) to the Munich research center in 2020.

Prof. Dr. Paul Pfluger of the Helmholtz Zentrum München. Source: Helmholtz Zentrum München

With its Consolidator Grants, the European Research Council aims to support researchers with 7-12 years of experience since completion of their PhD and a promising scientific track record who seek to build up or strengthen their own research group. The grants may be awarded up to 2 million Euros for a period of 5 years. In addition to Pfluger, Dr. Andre C. Stiel was also honored in the field of bioengineering and optoacoustics.

“Helmholtz Munich is a world-class health research center fully committed to generating positive impact on society. Today, the ERC has again recognized the outstanding work of two of our top researchers contributing to our vision – a world without diseases”, says Prof. Matthias Tschöp, CEO of Helmholtz Zentrum München. “The fact that Helmholtz Munich has won 8 ERC Grants this year alone and 39 in total is proof that our innovative strategy is working. We are proud to serve as a visible flagship for translational health research in Germany and worldwide.”

Global health problem obesity
Prof. Dr. Paul Pfluger conducts research on metabolism and metabolic diseases: Globally, the prevalence of obesity and its comorbidities are a major burden to human health. People who are trying to lose weight through dieting often regain weight afterwards. Paul Pfluger aims to reveal the molecular processes behind this Yoyo dieting effect. To this end, he will focus on two major areas: First, the molecular underpinnings for leptin resistance (a hormone responsible for food intake and body weight) and the potential of leptin sensitizing weight loss drugs. Second, the epigenetic mechanisms of Yoyo dieting and the role of specific neurons in this process. Pfluger aims to use CRISPR-Cas9 technology to test whether the epigenetic memory for obesity can be reset by manipulating these neurons. With this approach, Pfluger’s goal is to provide the groundwork for future sustainable anti-obesity therapeutics.

Learn more about Paul Pfluger’s research group

Further information on the grants