Obesity expert Jonathan R. Brestoff, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of pathology and immunology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has received a 2019 Career Award for Medical Scientists from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, a nonprofit organization dedicated to biomedical science through research and education.
As part of the award, Brestoff will receive a five-year grant totaling $700,000 to study how the immune system regulates weight gain, with a goal of finding new ways to treat obesity beyond simply limiting food consumption. Brestoff and colleagues have discovered that fat cells can transfer their mitochondria – tiny organelles responsible for generating energy – to immune cells. With the new award, Brestoff will study how this transfer of mitochondria affects metabolic balance and test whether inherited disorders of mitochondria can be treated by targeting the transfer process.
Brestoff is one of 13 researchers selected for this award from a nationwide pool of 105 applicants.