Grant recipientLuca Laraia says: “The way cholesterol is transported within different parts of our cells has profound implications for human health. If this process is mis-regulated, it can lead to severe genetic conditions including Niemann Pick and other lipid storage disorders, as well as to hormone driven diseases. Cholesterol is also at the core of cellular metabolism, regulating when cells grow and divide, with strong implications in cancer. To better understand the role of cholesterol transport proteins in health and disease, we are proposing to develop molecules that can selectively block the function of any specific one, without affecting the others. For this, we will use a collection of compounds we have developed which mimic sterols and are ideally suited for identifying new blockers of cholesterol transport proteins. We will then optimize these molecules to be selective and study their effect on cellular cholesterol transport and cancer cell proliferation.”
Determining mechanisms of intracellular sterol transport with selective chemical probes
Grant amount: DKK 9,998,843
Luca Laraia, who is Italian and moved from Germany to DTU to establish his research group, further states: “The Hallas-Møller Emerging Investigator grant provides me with the resources to initiate a more substantial and impactful research programme. This will firmly establish me as a group leader and enable me to tackle scientific challenges of high therapeutic relevance!