What we investigate

Our focus in on metabolism, metabolites, and lipids. They play a fundamental role in any cellular system - both in health and disease. We adopt a data-driven approach (e.g. metabolomics and lipidomics) to investigate how they support and regulate skin formation and function.

metabolism, systems biology, metabolomics, lipidomics

The acute response of the epidermis to oxidative stress.
The acute response of the epidermis to oxidative stress.
Our research in more detail

Metabolism is an essential mainstay of all cellular systems. It provides building blocks, energy, and reducing equivalents for biosynthesis or to counter all kinds of stress. Metabolites and lipids also act as signals within and between cells to precisely coordinate systemic responses at different scales. We have been investigating these phenomena in many cell types that are of relevance for skin function: keratinocytes, fibroblasts, lymphatic vessels, etc. Our preferred approach is to use metabolomics and lipidomics by mass spectrometry, and to employ computational biology methods that integrate known network topology. It allows us to monitor the functional state of a tissue, characterize how this responds to perturbations, and formulate hypotheses on the underlying mechanisms. In collaboration with several expert groups from academia, clinics, and industry, we have been studying skin-relevant phenomena such as for example oxidative protection, biosynthesis of the epidermal barrier, skin aging, formation of lymphatic vessels, keratinocyte differentiation, or the development of therapies against melanoma. In addition, we often support clinical groups in the search for blood biomarkers.

Prof. Nicola Zamboni

Prof. Nicola Zamboni
ETH Zurich
Institute of Molecular Systems Biology
Otto-Stern-Weg 3
8093 Zurich

Email   Website

Selected publications

SKINTEGRITY.CH Principal Investigators are in bold:

  • Kuehne A, Hildebrand J, Soehle J, Wenck H, Terstegen L, Gallinat S, Knott A, Winnefeld M, and Zamboni N. (2017). An integrative metabolomics and transcriptomics study to identify metabolic alterations in aged skin of humans in vivo. BMC Genomics 18: 169.
  • Kuehne A, Emmert H, Soehle J, Winnefeld M, Fischer F, Wenck H, Gallinat S, Terstegen L, Lucius R, Hildebrand J, and Zamboni N (2015). Acute activation of oxidative pentose phosphate pathway as first-lne response to oxidative stress in human skin cells. Mol Cell 59: 359-371.
  • Varum S, Baggiolini A, Zurkirchen L, Atak ZK, Cantù C, Marzorati E, Bossart R, Wouters J, Häusel J, Tuncer E, Zingg D, Veen D, John N, Balz M, Levesque MP, Basler K, Aerts S, Zamboni N, Dummer R, and Sommer L (2019). Yin Yang 1 Orchestrates a Metabolic Program Required for Both Neural Crest Development and Melanoma Formation. Cell Stem Cell 24: 637-653.e9.