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C. Stacy Felton
IUB Chemistry

David Bricker
University Communications

Last modified: Thursday, November 13, 2008

IU Bloomington chemist VanNieuwenhze helps land $38 million NIH grant

Nov. 13, 2008

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A consortium of scientists, including Indiana University Bloomington chemist Michael VanNieuwenhze, has helped secure a $38 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to research fats, cholesterols and other lipids.

Michael VanNieuwenhze

Associate Professor of Chemistry Michael VanNieuwenhze

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The five-year continuation follows a $35.6 million, five-year grant for "Lipid Metabolites and Pathways Strategy," or LIPID MAPS. The project is directed by University of California at San Diego School of Medicine biochemist Edward Dennis. Basic scientists and medical researchers from eight academic institutions and one biotechnology business are participating in this large-scale, collaborative effort. IU scientists will receive an as-yet undetermined portion of the grant.

"I am extremely fortunate to be part of a group of very distinguished collaborators," VanNieuwenhze said. "One of the goals of the consortium is to develop a more thorough understanding of lipid metabolism with the hope of using this understanding to develop novel approaches for the treatment of diseases such as atherosclerosis, as well as other metabolic disorders."

As director of the Novel Lipid Synthesis Design Core, VanNieuwenhze will devise ways to produce lipids of interest and provide some of these lipids to members of the consortium.

"The target compounds can be anything from standards that are used in mass spectrometry experiments, mimics of oxidized phospholipids that can be used to monitor various cellular processes, or agents that might be used for the treatment of cardiovascular disease," VanNieuwenhze said.

Lipids are a class of macromolecules that include fats, cholesterols, as well as phospholipids, an important constituent of all cell membranes. Because lipids are crucial to cell function, they are central players in a wide variety of human ailments, from heart disease to pathogenic infection. Gaining a fuller understanding of lipids and their many functions will aid the treatment of lipid-related diseases, and also give scientists a deeper appreciation for the ways in which lipids keep cells and tissues healthy.

For more information, please contact David Bricker, University Communications, 812-856-9035 or