From Bioblast



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 extended to 42 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 SchiΓΆth, 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.


Gnaiger 2024 J Biol Chem2024Gnaiger E (2024) Complex II ambiguities ― FADH2 in the electron transfer system. J Biol Chem 300:105470. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbc.2023.105470
FAT4BRAIN Final review meeting Virtual2023-07-18
Virtual, 2023 July 18. FAT4BRAIN Final review meeting - WIDESPREAD PROJECT.
FAT4BRAIN 2023 Riga LV2023-04-20
Riga LV, 2023 April 20-21. FAT4BRAIN Symposium - Novel drug target and pathway identification
MiPNet28.04 FAT4BRAIN IOC159 Riga LV2023-04-19
Riga, LV, 2023 Apr 19. FAT4BRAIN O2k-Workshop IOC159.
PDBEB 2023 Coimbra PT2023-04-03Coimbra, PT, 2023 Apr 03-14. PHD Course in Experimental Biology and Biomedicine - ONE HEALTH: A Metabolic Approach from the Cell to Society
BPS2023 San Diego US2023-02-18San Diego, US, 2023 Feb 18-22. 67th Annual Meeting of the Biophysical Society.
FAT4BRAIN ESR Workshop2023-02-09
Riga, LV, 2023 February 09-10. FAT4BRAIN ESR Workshop - WIDESPREAD PROJECT.
GRC Mitochondria in Health and Disease 2023 Lucca IT2023-02-05
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Lucca (Barga), IT, 2023 Feb 05-10. The Gordon Research Conference on Mitochondria in Health and Disease.
Cecatto 2023 MitoFit2023Cecatto C, Cardoso LHD, Ozola M, Korzh S, Zvejniece L, Gukalova B, Doerrier C, Dambrova M, Gnaiger E, Makrecka-Kuka M, Liepinsh E (2023) Fatty acid Ξ²-oxidation in brain mitochondria: Insights from high-resolution respirometry in mouse, rat and Drosophila brain, ischemia and aging models. MitoFit Preprints 2023.10. https://doi.org/10.26124/mitofit:2023-0010
Gnaiger 2023 MitoFit CII2023Gnaiger E (2023) Complex II ambiguities ― FADH2 in the electron transfer system. MitoFit Preprints 2023.3.v6. https://doi.org/10.26124/mitofit:2023-0003.v6 - Published 2023-11-22 J Biol Chem (2024)
FAT4BRAIN 4th Online ESR Workshop2022-11-25
Virtual, 2022 November 25. FAT4BRAIN 4th Online ESR Workshop - WIDESPREAD PROJECT.
FAT4BRAIN Symposium Jena DE2022-10-20
Jena DE, 2022 October 20-21. FAT4BRAIN Symposium - Long COVID and acetylcarnitines: From preclinical models to clinical applications and translation potential
MiPNet27.09 FAT4BRAIN O2k-Workshop Schroecken AT2022-10-03
Schroecken AT, 2022 Oct 03-08. FAT4BRAIN O2k-Workshop on high-resolution respirometry (HRR), part of IOC155.
FAT4BRAIN Workshop IOC151 Innsbruck AT2022-05-02
Innsbruck, AT, 2022 May 2-3. FAT4BRAIN Workshop IOC 151 on mitochondrial function in CNS-related applications: from pre-clinical to clinical studies
FAT4BRAIN 3rd Online ESR Workshop2022-02-25
Virtual, 2022 February 25. FAT4BRAIN 3rd Online ESR Workshop - WIDESPREAD PROJECT.
Dambrova 2022 MitoFit2022Dambrova M, Cecatto C, Vilskersts R, Liepinsh E (2022) Mitochondrial metabolites acylcarnitines: therapeutic potential and drug targets. https://doi.org/10.26124/mitofit:2022-0020 2022-11-25 published in Bioenerg Commun 2022.15.
Dambrova 2022 BEC2022Dambrova M, Cecatto C, Vilskersts R, Liepinsh E (2022) Mitochondrial metabolites acylcarnitines: therapeutic potential and drug targets. Bioenerg Commun 2022.15. https://doi.org/10.26124/bec:2022-0015
Dambrova 2022 Pharmacol Rev2022Dambrova M, Makrecka-Kuka M, Kuka J, Vilskersts R, Nordberg D, Attwood MM, Smesny S, Sen ZD, Guo AC, Oler E, Tian S, Zheng J, Wishart DS, Liepinsh E, Schioth HB. (2022) Acylcarnitines: Nomenclature, Biomarkers, Therapeutic Potential, Drug Targets, and Clinical Trials. https://doi.org/10.1124/pharmrev.121.000408
FAT4BRAIN Online Workshop: Brain energy metabolism in emotion and cognition2021-09-07
Virtual, 2021 September 7. FAT4BRAIN Online Workshop: Brain energy metabolism in emotion and cognition - WIDESPREAD PROJECT.
MiPNet26.09 FAT4BRAIN Advanced O2k-Workshop IOC150 Virtual2021-08-24
Virtual Event, 2021 Aug- 24-25. FAT4BRAIN Advanced Virtual O2k-Workshop IOC150 on TMRM and Calcium Green
FAT4BRAIN 2nd Online ESR Workshop2021-06-18
Online, 2021 June 18. FAT4BRAIN 2nd Online ESR Workshop - WIDESPREAD PROJECT.
MiPNet26.05 FAT4BRAIN Advanced O2k-Workshop IOC149 Virtual2021-06-14
Virtual Event, 2021-06-14. FAT4BRAIN Advanced Virtual O2k-Workshop IOC149 on Amplex UltraRed
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 Midterm Review meeting Virtual2021-04-13
Virtual, 2021 April 13. FAT4BRAIN Midterm Review meeting - WIDESPREAD PROJECT.
MiPNet26.01 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 School IOC147 Virtual Event2020-10-13
Virtual Event, 2020-10-13. FAT4BRAIN School IOC147 on mt-functionality assessment in CNS-related applications .
FAT4BRAIN 1st Online ESR Workshop2020-04-30
Online, 2020 April 30. FAT4BRAIN 1st Online ESR Workshop - WIDESPREAD PROJECT.
FAT4BRAIN Kick-off meeting Riga LV2019-11-07
Riga LV, 2019 November 7-8. FAT4BRAIN Kick-off meeting - WIDESPREAD PROJECT.


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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

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