Our focus areas

Developing and exploring treatments for better energy metabolism in health and disease

Our research currently explores several different areas of fundamental and applied bioenergetics, including cardiometabolic and neurodegenerative diseases, aging, and athletic performance, all sharing the poor cellular bioenergetics as a major pathognomonic.

Besides understanding the pathophysiology of impaired bioenergetics behind above conditions, and finding and upholding reliable biomarkers indicative of poor energy metabolism, we predominantly investigate the effectiveness and safety of novel nutritional and physiological treatments in clinical and athletic environment.

The results of our projects are routinely published by many peer-reviewed academic journals.

Aging is often characterized by mild ognitive impairment ( MCI), a noticeable and measurable decline in cognitive abilities, including memory and thinking skills. MCI is accompanied by a reduction in brain energy metabolism, with lower-level bioenergetics goes with more detrimental clinical outcomes. A person with MCI is also at higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, the most frequent cause of dementia in developed countries.

Our goal here is to identify the best possible compounds that are able to get to this difficult-to-reach organ by targeting uncommon cell transporters, and to test their potency and pharmacovigilance to tackle low bioenergetics in aging brain.

Sarcopenia is a highly prevalent age-related degenerative loss of skeletal muscle mass, quality, and strength, all leading to adverse health issues and disability in elderly. Sarcopenic muscle appears to show diminished capacity to utilize creatine, a key amino acid derivative in cellular energetics.

We conceive and evaluate the efficacy of several tissue-specific organic compounds, including active creatine analogs, to improve muscle bioenergetics, and perhaps help elderly to minimize or postpone detrimental consequences of the aging process.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease ( NAFLD) is a metabolic disorder characterized by liver fat deposition, with up to 30% of population in developed countries have this perplexing condition. Metabolic impairment of the liver and mitochondrial dysfunction of this energy-demanding organ play significant roles in NAFLD pathogenesis.

Therefore, advancing liver energy metabolism via specific agents (such as inhalational molecular hydrogen or oral nucleotides) might be appropriate to tackle this complex condition.

It seems that inadequate or impaired energy provision through cellular metabolism may contribute to the pathogenic initiation and maintenance of chronic fatigue syndrome ( CFS), a debilitating medical condition characterized by profound fatigue of unknown cause. In many cases, CFS is permanent and limits the patient’s functional capacity, producing various degrees of disability, while there is no cure or approved treatment for CFS.

We investigate here how energy-related compounds tackle low bioenergetics and major symptoms in CFS, thus searching for a possible adjuvant or supplementary treatment for this medical condition.

Multi-year heavy prolonged exercise appears to induce mitochondrial dysfunction and impaired bioenergetics, while demonstrating several features of overtraining syndrome, cardiovascular irregularities, overuse injuries or immune system disorders.

We work to find an upper-end threshold above which exercise becomes more hazardous in terms of health, but also to establish a reliable biomarker of exercise-induced mitochondrial dysfunction (EIMD) and ultimately to search out for valuable therapeutics that prevent and manage this puzzling malaise.

Superior performance in many sports appears to be linked with a provision and upkeep of readily available energy needed to sustain muscular work.

Although several peformance-enhancing substances that target cellular bioenergetics are already at hand, we keep searching for innovative mitochondria-related agents that might impove athletic and work capacity, but also redesigning established compounds for boosted bioavailability, ease of use and safety. We are also focused to creatine-related compounds, from creatine precursors, analogs and specific salts, to CRT1 and CRT2 agonists, and complex formulations.

Our projects

In-house and externally funded research activities

Applied Bioenergetics Lab is a home of different scientific projects – from short-term observational studies carried out by our graduate students to multi-year trials that recruit full staff of our lab and foreign experts. Either supported by diverse external partners or self-sponsored, our activities keep growing each year, and magnetize a new generation of young talents to join us for exciting new endeavors.

Translating our research findings to the general public and making an impact remain of utmost importance for every project we launch in ABL. Therefore, we register most of our studies at ClinicalTrials.gov and routinely present research at scientific meetings and publish it in peer-reviewed journals.

Muscular and Neural Factors of Human Locomotion and Their Adaptation

Serbian Ministry of Education, Science, and Technological Development funded our institution for this five-year fundamental project (Grant No. 175037).

We address here the basic physiology of energy metabolism homeostasis in energy-demanding tissues (e.g. brain, liver, skeletal muscle), and monitor dynamics of changes in bioenergetics after different nutritional and physiological interventions.

Novel Biomarkers of Fatigue and Mitochondrial Dysfunction

This is a three-year project supported by the Provincial Secretariat for Higher Education and Scientific Research (Grant No. 114-451-710).

We investigate the validity and feasibility of several innovative biomarkers of mitochondrial bioenergetics across general population, among clinical patients and in athletic environment.

Molecular Hydrogen in Health and Disease

Japanese company Miz Co Ltd. from Kanagawa provided an equipment grant of hydrogen-generating machines for a multi-trial research analyzing the effectiveness and safety of molecular hydrogen, a possible mitochondria-centric agent, in different health conditions.

So far, we addressed its applicability in population with cardiometabolic risk, elderly with mild cognitive impairment, and collegiate athletes for exercise performance enhancement.

Advanced Creatine Formulations for Better Blood and Tissue Bioenergetics

This is a short-term project supported by a well-respected multinational company ThermoLife International from Phoenix, Arizona.

Our team evaluates how various creatine blends affect serum and muscle creatine in healthy volunteers, both acutely and after medium-term consumption.