Simon Pfisterer completed his PhD at the University of Tübingen, Germany, in 2012, and established his own research group at the University of Helsinki, Finland, in 2019. His research is focused on cellular processes which govern lipid physiology. Especially how cells take up lipids, transport them internally and how they store them. He made significant discoveries on how cholesterol is transported between membranes and how lipids are stored within cells.
To gain new insight into lipid physiology Simon’s group is implementing cutting-edge automation tools to obtain systematic data on how cellular processes are altered in individuals and how they are affected by genetic variants. This allowed him to show that biological variation contributes to the outcomes of lipid-lowering therapy, enabling novel precision medicine applications in hypercholesterolemia and cardiovascular disease.
Simon is an Academy of Finland Research Fellow, Fellow of the Helsinki Institute of Life Sciences and received a young investigator award from the European Atherosclerosis Society.
Simon Pfisterer is heading a research group at the University of Helsinki, Finland, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Anatomy (www.pfistererlab.org). Simon’s group is utilizing automated systems to gain insight how biological processes underlying dyslipidemia, cardiovascular disease and drug action are altered in individuals and how they are affected by genetic variants.
Simon’s research demonstrated that there is a large variation of cellular lipid uptake and storage for patients carrying identical loss-of-function mutations underlying familial hypercholesterolemia (FH). FH patients with poor cellular profiles did not achieve their blood cholesterol targets with lipid-lowering therapy (statin). This has now been validated for the general population using a biobank study with 400 participants (200 recipients of lipid-lowering medication). Individuals with a poor cellular profile displayed higher circulating LDL-cholesterol concentrations, a pro-atherogenic lipoprotein profile (NMR metabolomics), and an increased odds ratio for cardiovascular disease, whilst receiving lipid-lowering medication.
This highlights that functional cell profiling emerges as a novel technology to identify patients with high residual risk on lipid-lowering medication, in need of combination therapy. This enables the selection of an optimal lipid-lowering treatment right from the start of medication, providing unique opportunities in the primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease.