Prof. dr. J.B. (Bernd) Helms

Prof. dr. J.B. (Bernd) Helms


Bernd Helms studies the intracellular membrane dynamics of mammalian cells. His major expertise is in the area of protein and lipid biochemistry. Currently, his research focusses on lipid & membrane dynamics and the application of lipidomic techniques to study the function of lipids and lipid droplets in the pathogenesis of veterinary and human diseases. 

Our view of biological membrane dynamics has evolved dramatically over the last few decades. Initially a static model was proposed by Singer and Nicholson that describes proteins stochastically attached to and embedded in a lipid bilayer. During the last two decades, this view has changed and we now envision membranes as highly dynamic structures. In the cell, membranes are continuously transported between organelles. This process includes protein and lipid sorting during transport to maintain the unique membrane composition of each organelle. Within membranes, selected lipids and proteins can dynamically segregate in microdomains to regulate cellular processes.


His research goal is to study the dynamic properties of biological membranes that play a crucial role in normal cell physiology and in many diseases that result from dysfunction of membrane dynamics. Key research include (i) membrane dynamics of lipid droplets in liver focusing on the role of hepatic stellate cells in liver fibrosis and regeneration; (ii) Transport and function of vitamin A and retinoids; (iii) role of membranes and lipids in protein oligomerisation and (functional) amyloid formation (iv) membrane dynamics during fertilization, focusing on sperm and oocyte membrane dynamics during the fusion process, and (v) the development and application of lipidomic techniques to fundamental, applied, and clinical research. Bernd Helms collaborates with national and international biochemical, biomedical and cell biological research groups in these areas. The projects provide a molecular basis for understanding diseases, which is crucial to develop new strategies to develop novel drugs for the benefit of in human and animal health.



Veterinaire Biochemie
Inaugural lecture date