Scientific highlights


Bilal Sheikh Successfully Acquires DFG Funding

To unravel the effects of the newly approved cholesterol lowering drug Bempedoic Acid on the epigenome, Dr. Bilal Sheikh has been awarded a project grant of the 'Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft' (DFG). He and his team will receive funding of 271,000 euros from the DFG.

© Dr. Konstanze Julich-Gruner

Lipid and cholesterol lowering drugs such as statins, which are used to treat diabetes and obesity, for example, are the most common and successful therapy for improving patient health.

Bilal Sheikh and his team found that some metabolic drugs not only lower lipids, but also affect the epigenome. This is the part of the genome that is directly influenced by the environment and thus, for example, also by the metabolic environment. The epigenome tells our cells which part of the DNA (genes) to switch on and off and helps them to respond to environmental influences.

As part of the DFG project, Bilal and his team will conduct more detailed research on the newly approved statin drug bempedoic acid, which is used to lower cholesterol levels. The researchers want to find out how bempedoic acid shapes the epigenome and fine-tunes the activity of metabolic pathways.

"The results of our project will lead to a better understanding of how metabolic drugs can improve patient health and help develop future treatment strategies for currently incurable metabolic diseases," says Bilal, explaining the goal of his research.

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.

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) 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.

For further information on this research project, please contact the HI-MAG team: