The Fellowships


See for future fellowships


  • The LE&RN/FDRS Lipedema Postdoctoral Fellowship Awards Program has been established to advance our understanding of lipedema pathogenesis. LF press release
  • The Fat Disorders Research Society sponsored 3 fellowships for the 2015-2017 funding period. FDRS press release
  • The Lipedema Foundation research sponsored a 4th fellowship for the 2015-2017 funding period. LF press release
  • The fellowships are administered by The Medical Foundation division of the Health Resources in Action.

Novel Metabolite-Based Treatment Approach of Lymphedema: Possible Relevance for Lipedema?

Annalisa Zecchin, PhD, with mentor Peter Carmeliet, MD PhD, at University of Leuven, VIB, will study "Novel Metabolite-Based Treatment Approach of Lymphedema: Possible Relevance for Lipedema?". "Lipedema, the accumulation of lipids within the extremeties, is a debilitating disorder whose underlying cause is not understood, and currently has no curative treatments. Lymphedema, the accumulation of fluid in the extremeties, is better understood, and has been suggested to be linked to lipedema. In this proposal, we will explore whether altering nutrient availability can promote lymphatic function to improve lymphedema, and possibly lipedema."


Functional Imaging of Sodium and Lymphatics in Patients with Lipedema

Rachelle Crescenzi, PhD, with mentor Manus J. Donahue, PhD at Vanderbilt University will study "Functional Imaging of Sodium and Lymphatics in Patients with Lipedema". "Lipedema is a chronic and incurable condition estimated to effect up to 11% of the female population. The disease is characterized by a thickening of the subcutical adipose tissue, which is often painful, and is likely hereditary. It is frequently underdiagnosed, or misdiagnosed as lymphedema or obesity. The critical barrier to diagnosing lipedema rests with a lack of tools for assessing specific features of the disease without invasive procedures. In this study, we propose to use novel magnetic resonance imaging methodologies to develop markers of lipedema, including impaired processing of lymph fluid in the legs and accumulation of sodium in the skin. If successful, this work will aid our understanding of the cause of disease, and allow for the development of novel therapies.".


Communication Between Adipose and Lymphatic Microvascular Endothelial Cells

Javier Jaldin-Fincati, PhD, with mentor Amira Klip, PhD, at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, will study "Communication Between Adipose and Lymphatic Microvascular Endothelial Cells". "We hypothesize that products of adipocyte metabolism may affect the correct function of lymphatic microvascular endothelial cells (L-MEC), contributing to Lipedema. We think that if lymphatic capillaries do not drain 'toxic materials' out of adipose tissue, such as fatty acids, an inflammation state is generated. If we add to this an insufficient removal of excess insulin, a vicious cycle may ensue of insulin resistance in fat cells and inflammation in the tissue that will further damage lymphatic capillaries.
In this context, it is essential investigate the effect of increased levels of insulin and fatty acids on metabolism and viability of L-MEC. To address that, we propose isolate L-MEC from human adipose tissue and cultivate them under normal and pathological levels of adipocyte metabolites and insulin. This will lead to a better understanding of how these cells respond to healthy and sick environments created by adipose tissue."


Mechanisms of Impaired Lymphatic Function in Mice with Increased Adiposity

Echoe Bouta, PhD, with mentor Timothy Padera, PhD, at Massachusetts General Hospital, will study "Mechanisms of Impaired Lymphatic Function in Mice with Increased Adiposity". "Lipedema is a chronic disorder that is characterized by painful swelling restricted to the lower limbs caused by increased fat stores that even a strict diet regimen is typically unable to eliminate. While lipedema is a prevalent disease, little is known about what causes it and therefore, treatment of lipedema patients is often ineffective. Clinical studies suggest that lipedema patients have lymphatic system dysfunction and reduced immune function, as they are unable to clear infections effectively. Therefore, we will determine how lymphatic vessel and immune function changes in mice with increased fat stores. We will next determine what molecules cause lymphatic dysfunction. Finally, we will then increase lymphatic function by targeting a pathway known to be important to lymphatic vessel contraction as improving lymphatic function is a potential therapy for lipedema patients. This study will provide critical knowledge about the mechanism of lipedema progression and test potential therapies."