Thursday, February 11, 2021

Spotlight on Health and Nutrition Division New Investigator Research Award Winner: Marc Pignitter

Congratulations to Marc Pignitter for winning the Health and Nutrition Division New Investigator Research Award. 

The Health and Nutrition Division New Investigator Research Award recognizes a young scientist who is making significant and substantial research contributions in one of the areas represented by the Division’s area of interest.

This spotlight will help you get to know Dr. Pignitter including an overview of his current research and how AOCS has helped develop his career.

A brief biography: Marc Pignitter is an assistant professor at the department of physiological chemistry at the University of Vienna, Austria, where he leads the Analytical Food Chemistry and Lipid Oxidation group. His research interests focus on applying omics technologies to control and understand the formation of lipid oxidation products in food and their health effects. Recently, he broke new ground revealing the impact of oxidized lipids in foods on cellular phospholipid and amino acid metabolism by applying genomic and metabolomic tools. He has already published more than 60 papers and his work has been recognized by the H. P. Kaufmann-Prize 2015 of the German Society for Fat Science, and the Australia Awards Endeavour Research Fellowship in 2018. Dr. Pignitter joined the AOCS community in 2018. He has presented his research, served on committees and as a reviewer for JAOCS.

Can you tell us about current research?

My research interests focus on the identification and bioactivity of dietary lipid oxidation products applying foodomics and oxidative lipidomics approaches. We seek to identify novel lipid oxidation products that are more suitable as indicators of lipid oxidation, and to modify food processing to improve the oxidative stability of food lipids. We characterize ADME processes and biological effects of lipid oxidation products in biological systems to reduce their putatively harmful effects on health. The development and validation of analytical methods in the emerging field of oxidomics is among my latest research projects. Applying these novel methods allowed us to identify new lipid oxidation products in differently treated foods and new potential markers for lipid oxidation. We can also guide work to increase the oxidative stability of food lipids during production and processing. Controlling lipid deterioration is of tremendous interest for the food industry. In one of our recent projects, we significantly enhanced the shelf life of cold-pressed flaxseed oil by modifying production processes at low cost without the addition of any antioxidants. This research topic is closely related to another research interest of mine focusing on the dietary oxidized lipids-induced changes in the metabolism of cells. Basic biochemical mechanisms modified by dietary oxidized lipids, as the phospholipid and protein metabolism and their impact on lipid absorption, were discovered in my laboratory.

What was your reaction when you learned you had won the award?

When I learned that I had been selected to receive the award from the internationally renowned AOCS I was deeply pleased and honored. At the same time, I felt very grateful to have mentors, cooperation partners, colleagues and coworkers who significantly contributed to my research achievements. The award also encourages me to continue my research to obtain a better understanding of the biological effects of dietary oxidized lipids by applying emerging omics technologies.

How has AOCS helped develop your career?

AOCS provides a platform to stay in close contact with peers from academia, industry and government. It offers a unique environment promoting active contribution to shaping the future of lipid science. I made use of these great opportunities thereby expanding my global professional network. Organizing a session and presenting at the annual meetings helped me most to get in touch with leading researchers.

Find out more about AOCS's Health and Nutrition Division.

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