Project SASPRO 2 (Slovak Academic and Scientific Programme) is a Horizon 2020 mobility programme for experienced researchers based at three top research and training organisations of the Slovak Republic – Slovak Academy of Sciences, Comenius University in Bratislava (partner organisation) and Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava.

Fellows recruited within 3 calls under two types of mobility schemes Incoming and Reintegration strengthen transfer of knowledge, boost the creative environment and increase the quality of research at the host institutions. Programme helps to boost fellows’ career perspectives and possibilities by encouraging them to undertake secondments and first-hand experience in selected non-academic organisations.

SASPRO 2 as one of EU mobility programmes has the potential to contribute towards greater stability in the region – helping to encourage local scientists to return to the Slovak institutes and bringing new opportunities for foreign scientists to gain new knowledge and experiences.


Mgr. Miroslav Baláž, PhD.

Lactate, a metabolic signal and enery fuel driving alternative (project summary)

Obesity is a major threat to human health, being the primary risk factor for type 2 diabetes, dyslipidaemia and cardiovascular disease. Since energy expenditure is increased as a conse-quence of thermogenesis, pharmacological induction of this process presents an interesting therapeutic approach. Both the classical and alternative thermogenic mechanisms require extensive fuel supply from either cellular reserves or systemic circulation. Tissues which pos-sess alternative thermogenic mechanisms will therefore need to have a high metabolic flux. Interestingly, the most obvious changes in plasma metabolome triggered by acute cold in-clude an increase in fatty acids, glycerol, and lactate.

The first two originate from lipolysis and fuel thermogenesis. However, it is not clear what is the source, fate, and function of cold-induced lactate. Based on my preliminary data I propose that white adipocytes are the main source of cold-induced lactate, which serves as a metabolic signal and energy fuel for alternative thermogenic mechanisms. Specific aims of this proposal are to 1) uncover the origin and fate of cold-induced lactate; 2) reveal the function and prove the physiological relevance of lactate during cold; 3) identify targets for pharmacological modulation of thermogenesis.

To meet these goals, I will utilize inducible adipocyte- and brown/beige adipocyte-specific Ldha knockout mice, gain- and loss-of-function studies on human brown and white adi-pocytes, primary skeletal muscle and liver cells, metabolic tracing and bioenergetic mea-surements. Comprehensive metabolomic and transcriptomic analyses of human and murine adipose tissue, skeletal muscle and plasma will serve as basis for identification of novel can-didates with therapeutic potential.

The proposed project will not only provide new models and datasets that will be an invalu-able resource for the metabolic community, but also identify and validate novel therapeutic targets with potential to improve metabolic control.

(www: SASPRO 2)