In brief

Bruxelles Woluwe

Our group is interested in understanding the roles of bioactive lipids both in physiological and pathological situations mainly related to inflammation.
Indeed, lipids are essential constituents of biological membranes and control numerous cellular activities. An increasing number of lipids are shown to possess biological activities, thus behaving as transmitters or mediators. A large proportion of these “bioactive lipids” act by binding and activating their own receptors, and have their levels tightly regulated by specific enzymes. A prime example of such bioactive lipid signaling system is represented by the endocannabinoid system, one of our major research interests.
Thus we investigate the role of bioactive lipids (1) by setting up analytical methods (e.g. HPLC-MS) allowing the quantification of their endogenous levels and (2) by interrogating the role of selected bioactive lipids in cellular and in-vivo models of inflammation-related diseases (Figure 1). The overall aim of the group is to identify novel lipid-related therapeutic targets.

Figure 1: The overall strategy of our group centers on the identification of lipids and lipid-related potential targets in inflammatory settings. Bioactive lipids are selected either on the basis of reported effects or following their identification in lipidomics studies in the lab. The effects of these bioactive lipids are assessed, in vitro or in vivo, to determine their potential impact on inflammation. Once interesting lipids are selected and their effects identified, we turn to the identification of potential means to control their effects in vivo, for example by using agonists or antagonists of their receptors, or interfering with their biosynthetic and degradation pathways using inhibitors.