Christoffer Clemmensen – University of Copenhagen

Food, Fitness & Pharma > Scientists > PhD's from UNIK > Christoffer Clemmensen

Christoffer Clemmensen

Background  M.Sc. in Human Biology
Field of research In vivo pharmacology and energy metabolism

Title of the thesis

Role of the GPRC6A receptor in energy metabolism

About your PhD and your research

How would you describe your research project in overall terms?

GPRC6A is a recently identified G protein-coupled receptor that is activated by dietary amino acids and hypothesized to play a role in regulating energy metabolism. Using a GPRC6A knockout mouse model, the overall aim of my PhD project was to delineate the role of the GPRC6A receptor in energy- and glucose metabolism. 

How did your interest in your field of research occur?

I have, for many years been interested in the sciences of whole-body physiology and nutrition- and in particular how energy metabolism is regulated. Thus, the present project was a unique opportunity for me to further explore my interests while simultaneously obtain insight into the field of molecular pharmacology and additionally learn to perform mouse metabolic phenotyping.

What are the research challenges and perspectives of your project?

One of the major challenges in metabolic research (and a lot of other fields) is to mechanistically parse out physiological observations at the molecular level. Thus, future research should focus on illuminating the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms driving the physiological phenomena identified in my project. Such insights may hold the potential to facilitate the development of novel therapeutic compounds targeting the GPRC6A receptor.

Which key skills, methods etc. have you used/achieved during your PhD-project?

The main research tools employed in my project were transgenic mouse models. We exposed the animals to comprehensive metabolic phenotyping including analysis of: Body composition, indirect calorimetry, dietary interventions, exercise interventions, glucose metabolism experiments and molecular examination of tissue- and plasma samples (using ELISA, qPCR and Western blotting).

Your affiliation with UNIK 'Food, Fitness & Pharma'

To what extent have you felt affiliation with and connected to the interdisciplinary research project UNIK?

The UNIK FF&P, has overall added very positive to my experience as a PhD student. It offered me a broad network outside my own research group and my department, and thus supplied me with a platform to interact with more or less everybody working within the fields of obesity and type 2 diabetes in the Copenhagen area. The relative frequent meetings (min. 2/year) were plentiful to sustain these research contacts and for knowledge sharing.

Are there any initiatives or events within UNIK you specially appreciated?

The possibility to use the UNIK to help organize e.g. seminars etc. has been a huge asset. Normally, such initiatives would require tedious and time-consuming grant writing, but within the UNIK a seminar could more or less be planned and executed within a week. That I have highly appreciated.

Do you expect to continue to work as part of interdisciplinary research?

Definitely! It is almost impossible to perform high-impact research within biomedical sciences if you do not collaborate with other research groups in somewhat different fields/areas. The more you learn to appreciate other disciplines, the easier it gets to collaborate and thus the likelihoods of raising the overall quality of the research significantly increases.

What are your future carrier plans?

I hope to do 1-2 (successful) postdoctoral periods (at least one of them in another country than Denmark) in order to develop my scientific abilities and network within the fields of energy metabolism, obesity and type 2 diabetes. Whether this eventually will take me to the industry or whether I will get the opportunity to stay in academia, I would rather not have to try and predict at this time.

Anything else you want to share or highlight from your affiliation with UNIK?

The network established via the UNIK provided me with many interesting and educational experiences. Among others, it got me on national radio (P1, Agenda), helped to establish a 7-month scientific visit to the US (University of Cincinnati, working with professor Randy J. Seeley) and in general it introduced me to a lot of great scientists that I today consider as my friends and colleagues.


Publications can be found via searching: Clemmensen C [Author] in PubMed