Research of Human and Animal Physiology

Our research aims for nutritional improvement of diet-related (e.g. obesity, diabetes, negative energy balance) and age-related (e.g. fatigue, Alzheimer’s disease) metabolic health problems. We do this in one central research theme: Improvement of health by nutritional targeting of metabolic capacity and flexibility. We have a mitochondria-centred approach. We study white adipose tissue, muscle and other metabolic organs as well as reproduction organs.


Research description

HAP has extensive expertise in performing interventions studies focused on assessment of energy metabolism, integrated with metabolic, functional genomic and immune-histochemical analysis. We perform short term interventions and cross-sectional mechanistic studies in humans, detailed short and long term dietary interventions in model animals (mice and pigs), and detailed mechanistic studies in tissues as well as primary and cultured cells. We focus on diets, nutrients and compounds that affect mitochondria and intermediary metabolism and study effects of age, sex and physical activity. Our physiological expertise includes human indirect calorimetry, muscle function analysis and non-invasive assessment of mitochondrial function by NIRS; mouse indirect calorimetry extended with H2 and CH4 sensors to measure microbial activity and 12CO2 and 13CO2 sensors to measure substrate oxidation; cell respiration and metabolic flux analysis by seahorse XF96 and Oroboros. We are well equipped for transcriptome analysis, for a wide array of biological and biochemical techniques and for light- and fluorescence microscopy.

Staff scientists

Vincent de Boer - Cellular metabolism and metabolic regulation (in vitro, ex vivo, in vivo)

Sander Grefte - Muscle-nerve interaction (in vitro, mouse) & redox metabolism, age

Jaap Keijer - Metabolic pathways and mitochondria (in vivo) & nutrients, aging, metabolic disease

Werner Koopman - Mitochondria: structure - energy metabolic function (in vitro)

Arie Nieuwenhuizen - Energy metabolism in health and disease (human) & muscle, nutrition

Evert van Schothorst - Substrate metabolism and adipose tissue (pre-clinical) & diabetes, carbohydrates

Silvie Timmers - Muscle function (human) & fatigue, aging, foods

Katja Teerds - Male and female reproduction (pig, mouse, human, various animals)

Deli Zhang - Atrial fibrillation (in vitro, drosophila, preclinical, human) & risk factors, prevention