Our Research in Aachen, Munich & Maastricht
In our research group we focus on different ways by which lipid metabolism interacts with the immune system in the context of cardiovascular disease, especially atherosclerosis. Until now, the development of cardiovascular disease therapies focused on either dyslipidaemia or inflammation, which are the two main pathological drivers. However, it recently became increasingly recognized that these two pathological thrusts do not act alone but are rather interdependent. This renders the interaction and crosstalk between lipid metabolism and inflammation an attractive novel target for cardiovascular therapies. Therefore, our group focusses on the elucidation of some of these immune-lipid interactions in atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease.
Special interest of our research group also goes to a so far fairly neglected subgroup of patients in respect to cardiovascular risk, being chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients. It has been clearly shown that CKD patients have a severely increased incidence of CVD, clearly demonstrated by the fact that almost half of the CKD patients die from CVD rather than from the primary kidney disease. Intriguingly, this increased CVD risk in CKD patients cannot be fully explained by the classical CVD risk factors like hypertension or dyslipidaemia, suggesting the existence of CKD-specific cardiovascular risk factors. The aim is therefore to explore the role of immune-lipid crosstalk as pathological mechanism in CKD that could contribute to this increased CVD-risk.