PhD

Francisco Westermeier

 

Portrait

Since his early career, he has been interested in understanding the cardiovascular and metabolic consequences of diabetes and obesity. Currently, his research is focused on identifying potential cardiovascular abnormalities in patients suffering from Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS), a complex and debilitating multi-system disease, characterized by persistent exhaustion, cognitive impairment, and chronic pain which can worsen after performing even minor mental or physical effort.

Since October 2019, Francisco and his colleagues Jennifer Blauensteiner and Monika Riederer have been exploring whether the cellular mechanisms that regulate the production of nitric oxide (NO) both in endothelial and immune cells are altered in ME/CFS. NO is a double-edged sword – while it is essential in normal cardiovascular function, too much can be damaging and lead to prolonged inflammation. Their aim is to identify new pieces in this complex pathophysiological puzzle, which is estimated to affect at least 25,000 people in Austria and 17-24 million worldwide. Their research line -the first one focused on ME/CFS in Austria was recently funded by ME Research UK (Perth, Scotland) and supported by a collaboration with the UK ME/CFS Biobank (London, England). A second stage, which involves the recruitment of Austrian affected patients, is expected to start in September 2020 - supported by the CFS Solve Initiative (USA).

To date, Francisco’s contributions to biomedical research have been published in 31 peer-reviewed articles. In the same line, he serves on the Editorial Boards of Cardiovascular Diabetology, Frontiers in Integrative Physiology, Frontiers in Vascular Physiology, and as a referee in 6 other scientific journals. Francisco also participates as a member of the Chilean Society of Physiological Sciences and the European Network on ME/CFS.

Since 2018, he has been lecturing in-house courses Scientific Writing and Interdisciplinary Research Project belonging to the MSc Program Mass Spectrometry and Molecular Analysis at Department of Health Studies, FH JOANNEUM.

Selected Publications:

Original Research Articles:

  • Westermeier F, Holyoak T, Gatica R, Martínez F, Negrón M, Yáñez AJ, Nahmias D, Nualart F, Burbulis I, Bertinat R. Cytosolic phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase is expressed in α-cells from human and murine pancreas. Journal of Cellular Physiology (2019) / doi: 10.1002/jcp.28955

  • Westermeier F, Salomón C, Farías M, Arroyo P, Fuenzalida B, Sáez T, Salsoso R, Sanhueza C, Guzmán-Gutiérrez E, Pardo F, Leiva A, Sobrevia L. Insulin requires normal expression and signaling of insulin receptor A to reverse gestational diabetes-reduced adenosine transport in human umbilical vein endothelium. FASEB Journal (2015) / doi: 10.1096/fj.14-254219

  • Westermeier F, Salomón C, González M, Puebla C, Guzmán-Gutiérrez E, Cifuentes F, Leiva A, Casanello P, Sobrevia L. Insulin restores gestational diabetes mellitus-reduced adenosine transport involving differential expression of insulin receptor isoforms in human umbilical vein endothelium. Diabetes (2011) / doi: 10.2337/db11-0155

Reviews:

  • Westermeier F, Holyoak T, Asenjo JL, Gatica R, Nualart F, Burbulis I, Bertinat R. Gluconeogenic Enzymes in β-Cells: Pharmacological Targets for Improving Insulin Secretion. Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism (2019) / doi: 10.1016/j.tem.2019.05.004

  • Westermeier F, Riquelme JA, Pavez M, Garrido V, Díaz A, Verdejo HE, Castro PF, García L, Lavandero S. New Molecular Insights of Insulin in Diabetic Cardiomyopathy. Frontiers in Physiology (2016) / doi: 10.3389/fphys.2016.00125

More information about Francisco’s publications at: PubMed