Obesity is the result of chronic energy imbalance that puts patients at high-risk of type-2 diabetes (T2D) and of its complications and comorbidities. The diabetic context itself drastically alters metabolism at multiple scales, from subcellular and cellular to microenvironmental, in different organs, and systemic, in the whole body. Energy imbalance and altered metabolism at different levels are central to progression of disease and may influence susceptibility to specific complications or comorbidities. The developing research axis for Bioenergetics at the DDI is focused on the functional and mechanistic study of metabolism and energy balance at multiple levels.


  • Develop technical standards to address questions in bioenergetics and metabolism research
  • Investigate the way that cellular and tissue metabolism adapts to and affects development of diabetes
  • Discover novel targetable mechanisms to alter the course of metabolic decline in diabetes
  • Carry out leading edge research in the field of bioenergetics and metabolism
  • Develop a central and durable structure for technical and scientific needs in the field
  • Provide training opportunities for up-and-coming scientists in the field

The Bioenergetics department proposes two core projects:

  1. Decipher the mechanisms that control tissue metabolic function in insulin resistance; and
  2. Investigate the influence of metabolically active agents in controlling disease progression.

Inter-sector and inter-department projects address areas of common interest, for example the function of mitochondrial DNA variants or structural proteins in controlling energy balance. Translational projects with the Medical Sector will address clinically relevant questions, relating to drug mechanisms, lifestyle interventions and rare forms of diabetes.

Close interaction with clinicians and working from data generated in studies of local populations ensures relevance of this work to the population it serves. Specific environmental, lifestyle or genetic factors that influence energy balance and metabolic phenotype may explain, at least in part, the high prevalence of diabetes in the region.

More about Bioenergetics…


Meet the Scientist:
Dr. Fawaz Alzaid

Dr. Fawaz Alzaid is a senior scientist appointed to develop this work and brings a proven track-record in producing high-impact research in the field.


DDI announces new Bioenergetics Department

Energy imbalance affects the body’s metabolism in various ways, from causing weight gain to altering cellular and tissue functions. 

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