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FAT4BRAIN - Networking for excellence in functional pharmacology to study the role of fatty acid metabolism in neurological disorders

Horizon 2020


  • H2020-EU.4.b. - Twinning of research institutions, Grant Agreement No. 857394, Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis
  • Duration: 36 months
  • Start: 2019-11-01
  • Web: https://fat4brain.osi.lv/


Led by the Latvian Institute of Organic Synthesis (LIOS), the European project "FAT4BRAIN" aims to establish a network of excellence focused on the pivotal and common role of fatty acid metabolism in the development of neurological disorders, an issue of utmost biomedical and societal interest. The "FAT4BRAIN" project builds cooperation between LIOS from the Widening region and world leading partners in translational neuropharmacology (Uppsala University, Sweden), metabolism and neuropsychiatric imaging research (Eberhard University Tuebingen, Germany) as well as innovative mitochondria research (Oroboros Instruments Austria).
The scientific theme of "FAT4BRAIN" is focused on the pivotal and common role of mitochondria-related fatty acid metabolism for the development of neurological disorders, a topic of high biomedical and societal concern. The concerted research activities aim at deciphering novel mechanisms and developing new treatment strategies against these devastating diseases. Research of the past decades has discovered important connections between neurological and metabolic disorders. It has been shown that brain function is highly influenced by the presence of metabolic disturbances. Growing evidence suggest that fatty acids play a pivotal role in brain energy metabolism, not only as a substrate but also as important signal molecules and regulators of central and peripheral energy balance. Therefore, mitochondria-related fatty acid metabolism in the brain deserves close attention, as fatty acids and their metabolites and derivatives are able to influence neural functions, likely contributing to brain pathologies and therefore representing potential targets for therapeutic interventions.


FAT4BRAIN pursues three major aims:
1. To increase the excellence of LIOS from the Widening region as the EU-level expert team in brain fatty acid metabolism in terms of enhanced knowledge as well as improved methodological capacities, higher scientific impact and overall strengthened research profile by connecting with three centres of highest excellence.
2. To advance the research output of all partnering institutions in terms of state-of-the art translational research on brain energy metabolism and high-impact publications by creating collaboration between centres with highly complementary skills.
3. To promote the involvement of early-stage researchers and excel their scientific career through dedicated trainings, networking and mentoring.
These aims will be achieved by use of the research experience, excellence and reputation of the partnering institutions, by addressing a research topic of utmost biomedical and societal value, and by performing targeted trainings, meetings and workshops. FAT4BRAIN will create an open and stimulating environment that will interconnect LIOS with partnering organisations from high-performing countries. The project will specifically focus on strengthening capacities in areas that need improvement at LIOS, using the respective partners’ strengths in translational neuropharmacology (UU), metabolism and clinical neuropsychiatry (EKUT) and mitochondrial functionality assays (OI).


Overall scheme of FAT4BRAIN research and innovation strategy .
WP1 - Prof. Helgi Schiöth, Uppsala University
  • To increase competence and expertise in scientific background and in various cutting edge methods
  • To promote the exchange of experience and scientific know-how; to build the capacity of LIOS researchers by obtaining the necessary knowledge and skills;
o Scientific skills on metabolism and cognition,
o Methodological skills on state-of-the-art techniques (e.g. genetic and molecular methods),
o Procedural skills on translational medicine and clinical trial organisation,
  • To strengthen the networking with partner organisations and to ensure long lasting further cooperation.

WP2 - Prof. Erich Gnaiger, Oroboros Instruments
  • To get training in the use of High-Resolution Respirometry (HRR) for the assessment of mitochondrial energetics in preclinical and clinical samples and to learn how to apply fluorometry in HRR for the detection of hydrogen peroxide, calcium, and the assessment of mitochondrial membrane potential in preclinical and clinical samples
  • Review the potential for measurements of mitochondrial energetics, hydrogen peroxide production, calcium, and mitochondrial membrane potential in samples from CNS-related disorder models and patients
  • Develop a platform for evaluation of mitochondria-related effects of drugs applied for interventions against CNS-related disorders

WP3 - Dr. Liga Zvejniec, LIOS
  • To increase research competence in neuroscience
  • To guarantee compliance to international experimental research standards and ethical guidelines in LIOS
  • To promote visibility of the research of LIOS by conference attendance and publications

WP4 - Dr. Laura Clemensson, Uppsala University and Dr. Edijs Vavers, LIOS
  • To organise dedicated trainings and seminars for ESR and promote ESR participation in FAT4BRAIN-organised activities
  • To establish a mentoring platform for ESR
  • To establish a networking platform of ESR from partner institutions for future collaborations

WP5 - Dr. Marina Makrecka-Kuka, LIOS
  • To disseminate and exploit research results fostered by FAT4BRAIN within the scientific community of Europe
  • To provide information about FAT4BRAIN project activities and results to the general public
  • To enhance the attractiveness and networking of LIOS in order to compete for national and international research funding

WP6 - Dr. Edgars Liepinsh, LIOS
The overall goal of WP6 is to coordinate the consortium and manage the project activities to reach the planned results and impact within the proposed budget and time at the highest quality. This includes:
  • To set-up the operational bodies of FAT4BRAIN
  • To coordinate and oversee the project activities to be carried out
  • To perform overall administrative and financial management of the project
  • To take care of legal and contractual management (compliance of the project activities with Grant Agreement and the Consortium Agreement)
  • To establish effective internal communication procedures and channels inside the consortium and to maintain the communication with the EC




Oroboros project involvement

Oroboros Instruments is the leader of Work Pachage 2, which is focused on the application of mitochondrial functionality measurements in the research of brain energy metabolism. Special attention is paid to the mitochondrial research translation from preclinical models to clinical application. The aim of the training activities and workshops within WP2 is to facilitate the incorporation of modern innovative methods in mitochondrial research into ongoing research projects, share experience and transfer critical know-how to increase research capacities. In addition, based on the knowledge obtained during the implementation of WP2, a platform for the evaluation of mitochondria-related effects of drugs applied for intervention against neuropsychiatric disorders will be developed.


FAT4BRAIN Kick-off meeting Riga LV2019-11-07
Riga LV, 2019 November 7-8. FAT4BRAIN Kick-off meeting - WIDESPREAD PROJECT.
FAT4BRAIN 1st Online ESR Workshop2020-04-30
Online, 2020 April 30. FAT4BRAIN 1st Online ESR Workshop - WIDESPREAD PROJECT.
FAT4BRAIN School IOC147 Virtual Event2020-10-13
Virtual Event, 2020-10-13. FAT4BRAIN School IOC147 on mt-functionality assessment in CNS-related applications .
FAT4BRAIN O2k-Workshop IOC148 Virtual Event2021-03-03
Virtual Event, 2021-03-03/04. FAT4BRAIN Virtual O2k-Workshop IOC148 on HRR for the assessment of mitochondrial bioenergetics.
FAT4BRAIN Midterm Review meeting Virtual2021-04-13
Virtual, 2021 April 13. FAT4BRAIN Midterm Review meeting - WIDESPREAD PROJECT.
FAT4BRAIN Online Workshop: Central regulatory mechanisms of energy metabolism2021-06-08
Online, 2021 June 8. FAT4BRAIN Online Workshop: Central regulatory mechanisms of energy metabolism - WIDESPREAD PROJECT.
FAT4BRAIN Advanced O2k-Workshop IOC149 Virtual2021-06-14
Virtual Event, 2021-06-14. FAT4BRAIN Advanced Virtual O2k-Workshop IOC149 on Amplex UltraRed


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This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 857394.

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Official announcement of the H2020 Widespread Action FAT4BRAIN