Juggling with Lipids, a Russian Roulette
Dr. Marcus Conrad is director of the Institute of Metabolism and Cell Death at the Helmholtz Zentrum München in the field of metabolic cell death signalling and drug discovery. His research focus is concerned with the study of a recently recognized form of regulated necrotic cell death, now known as ferroptosis. Ferroptosis is a metabolic form of necrotic cell death characterized by the iron-dependent oxidative destruction of cellular membranes. Ferroptosis is emerging as the underlying cause of a number of diseases such as neurodegeneration, tissue ischemia/reperfusion injury and cancer. By studying cells and mouse models for the key regulator of ferroptosis glutathione peroxidase 4 (GPX4), he has pioneered this field and has made a series of landmark discoveries that have greatly helped to understand the molecular mechanisms of this cell death paradigm. He has further identified the second, glutathione-independent ferroptosis regulator, called ferroptosis suppressor protein-1 (FSP1), which can fully complement loss or inactivation of GPX4. Moreover, he has reported the first in vivo applicable ferroptosis inhibitor, liproxstatin-1, whose improved derivatives are currently undergoing preclinical development. Dr. Conrad has published more than 100 scientific articles, which have received more than 11000 citations. Furthermore, he holds three patents and has been twice awarded the prestigious m4 Award for translating basic knowledge into innovative drugs for novel therapies.