Short curriculum vitae:

2001 Diploma in Biology (Microbiology, Immunology and Physical Chemistry) University of Goettingen

2005 PhD University of Braunschweig Thesis done at: Max Planck Institute for biophysical Chemistry, Goettingen, Germany. Department of Prof. Dr. Herbert Jaeckle

2005 - 2006 Post-Doc National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Bethesda, U.S.A. Laboratory of Dr. Brian Oliver

2006 - 2011 Project Group Leader Max Planck Institute for biophysical Chemistry, Goettingen, Germany Department of Prof. Dr. Herbert Jaeckle

2011 - Current Junior Group Leader University of Duesseldorf Institute of Prof. Dr. Markus Kollmann


Our research focuses on fundamental questions of the regulation of organismic metabolism in general and the storage of energy rich lipids in particular:

  • How do cells and organisms regulate their lipid storage amounts?
  • How and why are different "setpoints" achieved?
  • How are intracellular lipids stored mechanistically?

The storage of energy rich lipids is a universal feature of organisms. It allows survival of conditions with limited nutrient supply as well as times of elevated energy demand. Yet, lipid storage levels need to be tightly controlled. This is most easily seen in emerging metabolic diseases of man such as diabetes, atherosclerosis or obesity, where this regulation is out of control.

We use different invertebrate and vertebrate tissue culture cell lines as well as the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as models to investigate the regulation and mechanisms of cellular and organismic lipid storage. During the last years, we focused on the universal lipid storing organelles, which are called lipid droplets. While present from bacteria to humans, these organelles share a simple and stereotyped structure consisting of a hydrophobic core containing the storage lipids, which is surrounded by a phospholipid hemimembrane with proteins attached. We combined different exploratory high-throughput analyses with in-depth, single gene investigations to learn more about the mechanisms and key players of lipid storage regulation. For example, we identified a large set of proteins associated with the lipid droplets of the fat storing organ of flies, called the fat body, and performed a genome-wide RNAi screen as well as an ultra high-throughput chemical genomics screen (collaboration with the NIH Chemical Genomics Center, Rockville, U.S.A.). Additionally, we characterized identified gene functions in detail such as the fly PERILIPINs.

Currently, we explore the function of identified candidate genes as well as the mechanism-of-action of the identified pharmacologically active compounds. Further, we use focused RNAi screens in combination with automated, multiparametric image analyses to target questions of the cell biology of lipid droplets.

As a new avenue, we started to use the combination of mathematical models and physiological assays to better understand the general design principles of how organisms coordinate their metabolism and growth processes. In combination with the detailed data we gathered so far concerning the cell biology of lipid droplets, this will bring us closer to our long term goal of a better understanding of lipid storage regulation per se and a better understanding of the failed regulation present in human metabolic diseases.

Group Members:

Anna van de Venn (Master student)

Thomas Schlemper (Master student)

Peter J. Thul (PhD student)

Kirsten Tschapalda (PhD student)

Michael Werthebach (PhD student)

Selected Publications:

  • Thiel K, Heier C, Haberl V, Thul PJ, Oberer M, Lass A, Jaeckle H and Beller M The evolutionary conserved protein CG9186 is associated with lipid droplets, required for their positioning and for fat storage, Journal of Cell Science (2013)
  • Li Z, Thiel K, Thul PJ, Beller M, Kuehnlein RP and Welte M
    Lipid droplets control the Maternal Histone Supply of Drosophila Embryos
    Curr Biol. (2012)
  • Beller M, Bulankina AV, Hsiao HH, Urlaub H, Jaeckle H, and Kuehnlein RP PERILIPIN-dependent control of lipid dropletstructure and fat storage in Drosophila, Cell Metab (2010)
  • Loehr U, Chung HR, Beller M, and Jaeckle H Antagonistic action of Bicoid and the repressor Capicua determines the spatial limits of Drosophila head gene expression domains Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A (2009)
  • Beller M, Sztalryd C, Southall N, Bell M, Jaeckle H, Auld DS and Oliver B COPI complex is a regulator of lipid homeostasis PLoS Biol (2008)
  • Beller M, Riedel D, Jaensch L, Dieterich G, Wehland J, Jaeckle H, and Kuehnlein RP Characterization of the Drosophila lipid droplet subproteome Mol Cell Proteomics (2006)
  • Groenke S, Beller M, Fellert S, Ramakrishnan H, Jaeckle H, and Kuehnlein RP Control of fat storage by a Drosophila PAT domain protein Curr Biol. (2003)

Past and present funding:

  • Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF)
  • Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
  • National Institutes of Health
  • Strategic Research Funds of the Heinrich Heine University

Junior Research Group Leader

Jun.-Prof. Dr. Mathias Beller

Gebäude: 26.03
Etage/Raum: 00.70
Tel.: +49 211 81-13404
Verantwortlich für den Inhalt: E-Mail sendenDr. Mathias Beller