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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

26.12.2017 by Michael Potente

Some photos from this year’s Christmas Party at the Schirn in Frankfurt.










Just before the dinner at the Badias. From upper left to right: Jorge Andrade, Kerstin Wilhelm, Michael Potente, Toshiya Sugino, Yu-Ting Ong, Barbara Zimmermann, Anuradha Doddaballapur, Chenyue Shi.


Inner circle.


Looking forward to 2018!

Impressions from the “Challenges in Ubiquitin and Autophagy Research” meeting in the Bay area

05.12.2017 by Michael Potente

On 27th and 28th of November, the brainstorming meeting on ubiquitin and autophagy networks took place at Half Moon Bay in the San Francisco area. The conference was organized by Ivan Dikic and Vishva Dixit and brought together scientists from  California (Genentech/Berkeley/Stanford) and the Frankfurt/Mainz/Bad Nauheim side.  During the conference, emerging challenges in the ubiquitin and autophagy fields were discussed, especially those dealing with human diseases and new technologies. The event was funded by the UBAUT marketing grant and participant included Ray Deshaies, Andrew Dillin, Michael Rape, Jonathan Weissmann, Vishva Dixit and Ivan Dikic, among others. Below are some images from the event.


Participants of the meeting.


Fantastic morning run with Christian Behl.


Morning view from the meeting hotel.


Stefan Müller & Michael Potente at a local coffee place.

ERC funding for the Angiogenesis & Metabolism Laboratory

30.11.2017 by Michael Potente

Michael Potente receives a 2-Million-Euro grant from the European Research Council


Cardiologist Michael Potente, head of the research group “Angiogenesis and Metabolism” at the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research in Bad Nauheim, Germany, is awarded one of the prestigious Consolidator Grants of the European Research Council (ERC). Over the next five years, the ERC will provide the scientist with two million Euros for his research on blood vessels. Potente has been successful for the second time with a project application to the ERC: In 2012 he was already awarded a Starting Grant.


The ERC’s call for proposals is highly competitive: only about one in ten of the submitted applications was approved. According to the ERC, the Consolidator Grant Program aims at “excellent scientists whose own independent working group is in the consolidation phase.”


Potente is primarily interested in a cell layer, which lines the interior of blood vessels. Previously, he has been able to show that these so-called endothelial cells have a unique metabolism that is critical for the growth and function of blood vessels. However, the endothelium differs from organ to organ: “In the brain, for example, endothelial cells are tightly connected and form the so-called blood-brain barrier, through which only certain molecules can pass. In contrast, the endothelium in the liver is very permeable and thus ensures the detoxification function of the liver”, says Potente.


However, it remains unclear how this organ-specific differentiation of endothelial cells is established. With the ERC funds, Potente aims to address this question and investigate the influence of the tissue milieu on the specialization of endothelial cells. His goal is to examine the relationship between metabolism, epigenetics (non-inherited change of genes) and cellular differentiation. “We suspect that organ-specific differences in endothelial metabolic state promote specialization through altered epigenetics and thus contribute to diversity within the vascular system,” explains Potente.


A particular focus of Potente’s research project will be on potential changes in vascular endothelial function associated with obesity and aging. “We want to explore which metabolic products alter epigenetic programs in a way that the endothelium no longer functions properly and, in the worst case, the organ fails,” says Potente. Their research could thus contribute to a better understanding of vascular diseases caused by changes in metabolism.


Official press release by the ERC & highlighted projects.


Interview with Michael Potente in Circulation Research

02.09.2017 by Michael Potente

In the August 17th edition of Circulation Research, Ruth Williams talks with Michael Potente about his research and professional career so far. The interview focusses on Michael’s perspective on his scientific career rather than on specific aspects of his work. The interview is part of a new series in the journal, which highlights junior scientists in cardiovascular research. The complete interview is available at the following link.

Editorial by Jorge Andrade and Michael Potente published in EMBO Journal

14.08.2017 by Michael Potente

The News & Views article discusses two new studies published in the EMBO Journal that highlight the importance of glutamine metabolism in endothelial cells. These reports show that glutamine is a crucial TCA cycle carbon source in endothelial cells that supports cell proliferation, biomass synthesis and vessel growth.


Link to the articles by Huang et al and Kim et al.



Great honor for Kerstin Wilhelm – recipient of the 2016 Otto Hahn Medal

25.06.2017 by Michael Potente

On June 21, Dr. Kerstin Wilhelm from the Angiogenesis & Metabolism Laboratory at the Max Planck Institute was awarded an Otto Hahn Medal. The award is given by the Max Planck Society and honors young junior scientists for their scientific accomplishments during their Ph.D. Kerstin Wilhelm received this prestigious prize for her work on the molecular regulation of blood vessel growth, a process generally referred to as angiogenesis. The award ceremony took place in Weimar during the Annual Meeting of the Society.


Since 1978 the Max Planck Society honors up to 30 young scientists per year with the Otto Hahn Medal for outstanding scientific achievements. It comes with a monetary award of 7500 euros as recognition. The prize is intended to motivate especially gifted junior scientists and researchers to pursue a future university or research career.


Further informations.