On 18 June 2021, Elke Humer received the Armin Tschermak von Seysenegg Award for her work in the field of subclinical metabolic disorders at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna. At the University for Continuing Education Krems Humer makes a contribution to a better understanding of the linkage between metabolic products and psychiatric disorders by tying-up animal studies with basic research in human medicine.
Assistant Prof Elke Humer, Department for Psychotherapy and Biopsychosocial Health, was handed the award for her publications in the field of subclinical metabolic disorders. In particular, it is the combination of her animal experimental work on metabolomic biomarkers, which she pursued at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna with her work on metabolomic biomarkers at the University for Continuing Education Krems. The results of her research contribute to a better understanding of psychiatric diseases.
Gaining insights using animal models
Since brain samples from humans are only available at autopsy, animal models are commonly used to determine the pathogenesis of psychiatric disorders and test treatment strategies. As all animal studies are handled with great care at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, these were too conducted in compliance with the highest animal testing regulations. Among other things, Humer summarized studies on biomarkers, so-called measurable biological characteristics, in animal models of psychiatric disorders in publications produced at the University for Continuing Education Krems. Depression, anxiety and sleep disorders were included in the focus of these studies. In addition, several studies investigated psychiatric drugs, e.g., antipsychotics, antidepressants or mood stabilizers, in animal models.
"It was possible to get insights straightforwardly into the cellular metabolites produced during psychiatric processes from the animal models. In further studies, I would like to conduct representative human studies to improve insight into psychiatric disorders and to advance the development of new treatment strategies," says metabolic disorders expert Elke Humer.
Since September 2019, Elke Humer has been working at the University for Continuing Education Krems and has in that time published 27 publications in peer-reviewed journals with impact factor. Previously, Humer worked at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna and studied at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna, the University of Vienna, and Danube University Krems.
The Armin Tschermak von Seysenegg Award
Prof Armin Tschermak, Edler von Seysenegg (1870-1952) former professor of physiology at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna is the name giver of this prize, which is currently endowed with € 5,000 per year. This sponsorship intends to support young academics at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna and to honor outstanding scientific work.