Bárbara Patrício

ESR 6 - "GLP-1 as a key player in the gut-liver axis: role in NAFLD"


Bárbara Patrício is a curious and enthusiastic biochemist. In 2015, she earned a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from the University of Porto, Portugal, where she developed an interest in obesity, diabetes and endocrinology, especially during her bachelor’s thesis entitled “The role of the vagus nerve in mediating the effects of chronic GLP-1 exposure on pancreatic morphology in rats”. Moreover, she performed extracurricular projects which greatly contributed to the expansion of her knowledge in metabolic diseases and synthesis of pharmacologically active compounds.
She completed her Master of Science in Biochemistry at the University of Porto in 2017, during which she had the opportunity to go abroad as a traineeship student in the University of Copenhagen in the fall of 2016. As part of her master’s thesis project, she characterized the gastrointestinal hormone secretion profile of subjects submitted to gastric bypass with different biliopancreatic limb lengths, which was part of a project awarded with the National Prize for Diabetes Research of the Portuguese Diabetes Society.

Summary of ESR Project

Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) has been increasing worldwide. Nevertheless, there are currently no approved treatments for NAFLD other than change in diet and lifestyle. GLP-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1RA) have been revealed as a promising treatment for NAFLD. However, the mechanisms accountable for its action have not been elucidated yet. This project aims to explore the metabolic changes adjacent to the direct effects of GLP-1RA in the liver during NAFLD progression.
Methodologies will include the assessment of liver fat content and metabolic outcomes by liquid- and gas-chromatography mass spectrometry (LC-MS/GC-MS), and measurements of glucose, GLP-1 and insulin/C-peptide levels by commercially available assay kits both in a mice model of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and NAFLD patients after provocative tests.

Main Host:

Dr. Amalia Gastaldelli


Portuguese Diabetes Association (APDP), Portugal; Supervisor: Dr. Paula Macedo.
Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology (CNC), Portugal; Supervisor: Dr. John Jones.
Mediagnost, Germany; Supervisor: Dr. Andrea Normann.