Jump to content
Powered by

Ulm awards adiposity researcher

Martin Wabitsch, a paediatrician and hormone researcher from Ulm, has received the Science Award of the city of Ulm. Wabitsch, who is 45 years old and the head of Paediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes at the University Hospital of Ulm, received the award for his research on the consequences of adiposity in young children. The award also comes with funds totalling 5,000 euros.

Wabitsch studied in Berlin, Baltimore and Ulm and completed his doctorate under Ernst Friedrich Pfeiffer, a renowned medical expert and former rector of the University of Ulm. Wabitsch deals with fatty tissue, hormone production and fat metabolism. Adiposity has, along with other diseases of civilisation such as diabetes type 2, become an important issue in scientific research.

Fat cells are classical glands

Lord Mayor Ivo Gönner (left) presenting the award to Martin Wabitsch. (Photo: University of Ulm)
Wabitsch was one of the first researchers to investigate the regulation of leptin, a hormone that plays a key role in one’s appetite and metabolism. It was discovered at the beginning of the 1990s. Since then, more than 100 hormones have been discovered that are produced by fatty tissue. Wabitsch said that this has led to a change in the scientific understanding of fat cells (adipocytes), which are no longer regarded as pure energy stores, but as classical glands, i.e. hormone-producing organs releasing numerous highly active second messengers into the blood and communicating with many organs.

Surplus weight is, first of all, regulated biologically

Scientific findings have completely changed the understanding of adiposity. The body weight seems to not depend so much on a person’s willpower but rather seems primarily regulated biologically, so state the latest findings. That is why the recently published action plan against the ‘problem of adiposity’ in Germany will not be sufficient, fears the researcher from Ulm, assuming that it does not take sufficient account of the biological basics of body weight regulation.

Wabitsch’s research group hopes to find out what affects the release of substances from fat cells. Wabitsch found out that several factors regulate this release. “So far, it is only known that the cells alter their secretion when becoming resistant to insulin,” said Wabitsch adding that “type 2 diabetes, which always develops from a person’s resistance to insulin, is associated with altered fat cell properties.”

Website address: https://www.gesundheitsindustrie-bw.de/en/article/press-release/ulm-awards-adiposity-researcher