Director BioTechMed-Graz

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Univ.-Prof. Dr.phil. Rudolf Zechner



Institute of Molecular Biosciences
University of Graz
Heinrichstraße 31/II (BIOCHEMIE II), A-8010 Graz, Austria
Phone: +43 316 380 – 1900
Fax: +43 316 380 9016
E-mail: rudolf.zechner(at)
Link: Homepage


Prof. Zechner‘s research focuses on lipolysis, the biochemical pathway responsible for the enzymatic breakdown of lipids. He and his team discovered a new enzyme (Adipose Triglyceride Lipase), which is responsible for the initial step in the degradation of cellular fat stores. This finding has revised the existing doctrine and led to a completely new understanding of this central metabolic pathway. The current work of Prof. Zechner’s team focuses on molecular mechanisms how lipolysis affects the pathogenesis of obesity and associated diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
Prof. Zechner has coordinated numerous major projects, such as the SFB Biomembranes (1997-2006), SFB LIPOTOX (2007-2017) and the GEN-AU project Genomics of Lipid-associated Disorders (GOLD) (2002-2012). Internationally renowned journals like Science, Nature Medicine or Cell Metabolims have frequently published his work. His scientific achievements have won various prestigious awards, such as the ERC Advanced Grant or the Louis-Jeantet Price for Medicine.


University Education
Juli 1980Ph.D. Graduation in Chemistry, University of Graz, Austria
1972-1980University education in General Chemistry, University of Graz, Austria

Career History
since 2000Professor of Biochemistry, Institute of Molecular Biosciences, University of Graz, Austria
1998-1999Professor of Biochemistry, Chairman of the Institute of Biochemistry, University of Graz, Austria
1994-1998Head of the Section of Molecular Biology, Institute of Medical Biochemistry, University of Graz, Austria
1990-1998Associate Professor, Institute of Medical Biochemistry, University of Graz, Austria
1990Habilitation in Biochemistry, Institute of Medical Biochemistry, University of Graz, Austria
1987-1990University Assistant, Institute of Medical Biochemistry, University of Graz, Austria
1985-1987Research Associate, Laboratory of Biochemical Genetics and Metabolism, The Rockefeller University, New York, USA
1980-1984University Assistant, Institute of Medical Biochemistry, University of Graz, Austria

Honors and Awards
2015Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine
2014Richard Havel Award Lecture at The Deuel Lipid Conference, San Diego, CA, USA.
2013Science Award 2013, sponsored by the County of Styria
2012Kardinal-Innitzer-Würdigungspreis, sponsored by the Kardinal-Innitzer-Studienfonds, Austria
2012Award Lecture: DeWitt S. Goodman Lectureship, Columbia University, NY, USA
2012Award Lecture: Van Deenen Lecture, International Conference on the Bioscience of Lipids der American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Banff, Canada.
2011Award Lecture: The Journal of Lipid Research Lectureship Award, Kern Lipid Conference, Vail, Colorado, USA.
2009European Lipid Science Award, European Federation for the Science and Technology of Lipids
2007Wittgenstein Award, sponsored by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Research
1990Forschungsförderungspreis, sponsored by the County of Styria
1990Kuner-Science Preis sponsored by Unilever
1986Erwin-Schroedinger Stipendium, sponsored by the Austrian Science Fund FWF
1985Max-Kade Fellowship, sponsored by the Max Kade Foundation

Additional Experience

since 2014

Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Metabolic Research Laboratories, University of Cambridge, UK
2008-2012Member of the Steering Committee and the Scientific Advisory Board of Joanneum Research, Graz, Austria
2008-2011Member of the Executive Committee of the European Atherosclerosis Society
since 2008Member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences
since 2006Member of the International Scientific Council Ruder Boskovic Institute, Zagreb, Croatia

Editorial Functions
since 2014 Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism, Member of the Editorial Board
since 2012Cell Metabolism, Member of the Editorial Board
since 2012The Journal of Clinical Investigation, Member of the Editorial Board
since 2012Molecular Metabolism, Topic Editor
since 2010BBA-Molecular and Cellular Biology of Lipids, Executive Editor
2005-2012Atherosclerosis, Member of the Editorial Board
since 2004Journal of Lipid Research, Member of the Editorial Board

Selected Publications

  • Schreiber R, Hofer P, Taschler U, Voshol PJ, Rechberger GN, Kotzbeck P, Jaeger D, Preiss-Landl K, Lord CC, Brown JM, Haemmerle G, Zimmermann R, Vidal-Puig A, Zechner R (2015) Hypophagia and metabolic adaptations in mice with defective ATGL-mediated lipolysis cause resistance to HFD-induced obesity. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 112, 13850-13855.

  • Heier C, Radner FP, Moustafa T, Schreiber R, Grond S, Eichmann TO, Schweiger M, Schmidt A, Cerk IK, Oberer M, Theussl HC, Wojciechowski J, Penninger JM, Zimmermann R, Zechner R (2015) G0/G1 Switch Gene 2 Regulates Cardiac Lipolysis. J BiolChem. 290, 26141-26150.

  • Zechner R (2015) FAT FLUX: enzymes, regulators, and pathophysiology of intracellular lipolysis. EMBO Mol Med. 7, 359-62. Review

  • Folick A, Oakley HD, Yu Y, Armstrong EH, Kumari M, Sanor L, Moore DD, Ortlund EA, Zechner R, Wang MC (2015) Aging. Lysosomal signaling molecules regulate longevity in Caenorhabditis elegans. Science. 347, 83-86.

  • Mayer N, Schweiger M, Romauch M, Grabner GF, Eichmann TO, Fuchs E, Ivkovic J, Heier C, Mrak I, Lass A, Höfler G, Fledelius C, Zechner R, Zimmermann R, Breinbauer R (2013) Development of small-molecule inhibitors targeting adipose triglyceride lipase. Nat Chem Biol. 9, 785-787.

  • Kumari M, Schoiswohl G, Chitraju C, Paar M, Cornaciu I, Rangrez AY, Wongsiriroj N, Nagy HM, Ivanova PT, Scott SA, Knittelfelder O, Rechberger GN, Birner-Gruenberger R, Eder S, Brown HA, Haemmerle G, Oberer M, Lass A, Kershaw EE, Zimmermann R, Zechner R (2012) Adiponutrin functions as a nutritionally regulated lysophosphatidic acid acyltransferase. Cell Metab. 15, 691-702.

  • Haemmerle G, Moustafa T, Woelkart G, Buttner S, Schmidt  A, van de WeijerT, Hesselink M, Jaeger D, Kienesberger PC, Zierler K, Schreiber R, EichmannT, KolbD, Kotzbeck P, Schweiger  M, Kumari M, Eder S, Schoiswohl G, Wongsiriroj N, Pollak NM, Radner FP, Preiss-Landl K, Kolbe T, Rulicke T, Pieske B, Trauner M, Lass A, Zimmermann R, Hoefler G, Cinti S, Kershaw EE, Schrauwen P, Madeo F, Mayer B, Zechner R (2011) ATGL-mediated fat catabolism regulates cardiac mitochondrial function via PPAR-alpha and PGC-1. Nat Med. 17, 1076-85

  • Das SK, Eder S, Schauer S, Diwoky C, Temmel H, Guertl B, Gorkiewicz G, Tamilarasan KP, Kumari P, Trauner M, Zimmermann R, Vesely P, Haemmerle G, Zechner R, Hoefler G (2011) Adipose triglyceride lipase contributes to cancer-associated cachexia. Science. 333, 233-8.

  • Zechner R, Madeo F (2009) Cell biology: Another way to get rid of fat. Nature. 458, 1118-9. Editorial

  • Lass A, Zimmermann R, Haemmerle G, Riederer M, Schoiswohl G, Schweiger M, Kienesberger P, Strauss J G, Gorkiewicz G, Zechner R (2006) Adipose triglyceride lipase-mediated lipolysis of cellular fat stores is activated by CGI-58 and defective in Chanarin-Dorfman Syndrome. Cell Metab. 3, 309-19.

  • Haemmerle G, Lass A, Zimmermann R, Gorkiewicz G, Meyer C, Rozman J, Heldmaier G, Maier R, Theussl C, Eder S, Kratky D, Wagner EF, Klingenspor M, Hoefler G & Zechner R (2006). Defective lipolysis and altered energy metabolism in mice lacking adipose triglyceride lipase. Science. 312, 734-7.

  • Zimmermann R, Strauss JG, Haemmerle G, Schoiswohl G, Birner-Gruenberger R, Riederer M, Lass A, Neuberger G, Eisenhaber F, Hermetter A, Zechner R (2004) Fat mobilization in adipose tissue is promoted by adipose triglyceride lipase. Science. 306, 1383-6.          

All Publications

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Phone:+43 (0)316 380 - 5022

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