Alexandra Schaffert, M.Sc.
PhD student in the group of Functional Genomics
Focus of Research
The pathogenesis of obesity and -related comorbidities has been shown to be affected by environmental factors. Particularly plasticizers can drive obesogenic effects. Plasticizers can disrupt endocrine functions, like the differentiation of adipocytes in adipose tissue. This process is substantially controlled by the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ). In the last years it was reported that besides binding of natural ligands like prostaglandin, a number of phthalates from the group of plasticizers are able to activate the PPARγ. By processing in consumer-related plastic products, plasticizers are ubiquitary distributed in the environment, which may affect humans as well as aquatic organisms. To overcome the artificial separation of human and ecological toxicology, the molecular interactions underlying the obesogenic and therefore health-damaging effects of plasticizers in humans and zebrafish will be investigated.