Australia has the fastest growth rate of adult obesity in the world, significantly increasing our risk of devastating conditions including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
The cost is not just personal – the increase in obesity-related disease places a mounting financial burden on the Australian economy and a physical strain on the healthcare network.
We already know that high fat diets disrupt normal biochemical processes, leading to increases in fatty acid metabolites – substances made or used when the body breaks down food.
But if we are to tackle the huge health and social impact of obesity, we need to understand more about how fat affects the body on a molecular level.
While we know that high fat diets increase fatty acid metabolites, their role in metabolic dysfunction is poorly understood.
We have identified a shared region – a ‘molecular fingerprint’ – in more than 200 proteins, each involved in myriad bodily processes.
Crucially, we have found the fingerprint for a group of proteins involved in appetite and whole-body energy production. Our research seeks to understand how fat molecules can hijack protein function and determine if the molecular fingerprint predisposes proteins to be controlled by fat.
Dr Langendorf and colleagues hope to be able to transform our understanding of energy regulation and appetite control, and gain insights into genome-wide control by fat molecules – helping set Australia on a path to a healthier future
Dr Chris Langendorf
Dr Langendorf joined SVI’s Protein Chemistry and Metabolism Unit in 2013, becoming senior research officer in 2018. He has led internationally recognised research, published in high-ranking journals, and secured government and philanthropic support for his work.
He has been actively developing his leadership skills through positions on several committees within SVI and the broader scientific community. Recently he has been working with a pharmaceutical partner to increase his understanding of commercialisation and translation of biochemical projects.
Dr Langendorf shares his expertise through mentoring and training students and post-doctoral candidates. He also spends time fostering a love of science in some of the youngest members of our community: he regularly coordinates and runs science events at his local primary school and kindergarten.