Alexandra Schaffert, M.Sc.

PhD student in the group of Functional Genomics


Department of Molecular

Systems Biology
Helmholtz Centre
for Environmental Research
Permoserstr. 15
04318 Leipzig, Germany

Phone: 0341 235 1078

Alexandra Schaffert

Focus of Research

Plastics have become a regular part of our lives. However, some plastic additives can leach out of the material and enter our bodies through food and drink packaging, plastic consumer products, toys, textiles, and medical devices. Evidence is growing that plastic additives are related to malfunctions of the endocrine system of hormones, leading to infertility, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and many more. 
Because of their lipophilic properties, plastic additives are likely to interact with our adipose tissue. Some of them have structural similarities to natural hormones in the adipose tissue, allowing them to interfere with specific proteins and receptors that regulate critical functions, like the development and growth of adipocytes (fat cells), lipid metabolism, glucose, and insulin homeostasis. By this, the natural balance of metabolic functions is disturbed, leading to adverse health effects. These health effects can contribute to obesity, type II diabetes mellitus, and metabolic syndrome

What we investigate:

●  Adverse health effects of plastic additives such as plasticizers, Bisphenol A and its analogs using proteomics
●  In particular, metabolic disruption of human preadipocytes
●  And adverse effects on human macrophages (immune cells that are present in many tissues, including adipose tissue)
●  Interactions with the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ), which plays a substantial role in the adipose tissue and is a recognized target of endocrine disruption

Curriculum Vitae

Since Feb 2018

PhD student with a doctoral scholarship from the German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU) in the Department of Molecular Systems Biology, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Leipzig

Oct 2017 -

Jan 2018

Scientific assistant in the Department of Molecular Systems Biology, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Leipzig

Oct 2015 -

Sep 2017

Master of Science in Biochemistry with the focus on Molecular Biochemistry/Bioanalytics at the University of Leipzig

Apr 2012 -

Apr 2015

Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology at the Johannes Gutenberg-University of Mainz