Boris Krichel receives the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Global Postdoctoral Fellowship
Boris Krichel, a postdoctoral researcher in the Uetrecht Group (Uni Siegen, LIV), has been granted the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Global Postdoctoral Fellowship. This three-and-a-half-year international fellowship will enable Boris to investigate AMPK, a protein responsible for regulating cellular energy metabolism, using cutting-edge mass spectrometry approaches.
“The 5' adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is the master guardian of cell energy,” explains Boris “like a control hub, AMPK determines the pathways that your cellular energy travels.” AMPK is therefore an extremely complex protein that is constantly changing its structure based on the functional role it plays within the cell. These changes, known as post-translational modifications PTM, can occur at over 40 locations on the protein, making it difficult to know exactly how AMPK looks at any given moment.
To pinpoint AMPK’s exact structure, Boris will use a novel technology called native top-down mass spectrometry to expose the code of these modifications. “Understanding and mapping this PTM-code means that I can determine how the AMPK is modified and how the fine structure looks,” explains Boris “of the million possible versions of AMPK, I will be able to reduce the possibilities down to a few.”
This is critical, because the AMPK function is related to metabolic diseases, heart conditions and viral infections. Understanding which version of AMPK is present in a diseased cell will allow for the identification of specific biomarkers, which can be used in precision medicine to directly target certain disease states.
Boris will begin his fellowship in August when he joins Ying Ge’s lab at the University of Wisconsin, where he will have the opportunity to examine AMPK in donor heart tissue. After two years in the Ge lab, Boris will return to CSSB and the University of Siegen for a year. Finally, he will join Bruker Daltonics GmbH, one of the leading producers of native top-down mass spectrometry equipment, for half a year.
“I am excited for Boris to start this new project,” states group leader Charlotte Uetrecht “it will not only help strengthen our lab’s international collaborations, but it also has the potential to advance the use of mass spectrometry technologies in precision medicine.”