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Bilal Sheikh Successfully Applied for DFG Grant

HI-MAG,

To unravel the effects of the newly approved cholesterol lowering drug Bempedoic Acid on the epigenome, Dr. Bilal Sheikh has been awarded a DFG project grant..

Metabolic diseases such as diabetes and obesity are a rapidly growing problem in Germany and across the globe. Obesity and diabetes promote multiple deadly diseases such as cardiac failure and Alzheimer’s disease.

Lipid and cholesterol lowering drugs such as statins are the most common and successful therapy for improving patient health. Dr. Sheikh and his team have discovered that some metabolic drugs not only lower lipids, but may also impact the epigenome.

Our epigenome is the part of our genome that is directly influenced by the environment. The metabolic environment is one key influencer that shapes the epigenome. The epigenome tells our cells which part of the DNA (genes) they should turn “on” and “off”. In this way, our epigenome helps our cells to respond to our environment by telling them which genetic programs are needed at which time and in which place. 

Bempedoic Acid is a newly approved drug used that lowers cholesterol in patients. In this grant, Dr. Sheikh and his team will study how Bempedoic Acid shapes the epigenome and fine-tunes the activity of metabolic pathways to improve patient outcomes.  The results from this project will lead to a better understanding of how metabolic drugs improve patient health and help guide future treatment strategies for currently incurable metabolic disorders.

The German Research Foundation (DFG, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) funds all fields of science with a total budget of ca. € 3.6 billion per year. Almost half of it goes directly to research projects like this one.

Bilal Sheikh heads the “Vascular Epigenetics” group at HI-MAG, where his group is actively investigating the effects of metabolic, lifestyle and epigenetic factors on vascular function and disease. For further information on this research project, please contact the HI-MAG team (hi-mag@helmholtz-muenchen.de).