Jaap Keijer – Molecular Physiologist, Professor of Human and Animal Physiology

Dept. Human and Animal Physiology, Wageningen University



Metabolism, mitochondria and aging

Our lab performs (molecular/biochemical) physiological research focused on metabolism; energy metabolism, substate metabolism, redox metabolism and mitochondria. We aim for a better mechanistic understanding of how metabolism relates to health and functioning of humans and animals in relation to aging and chronic metabolic diseases. In a more practical sense, we develop new concepts, methods and data to substantiate the efficacy of interventions, compounds and foods to improve human health and functioning, ensuring healthy lives at all ages. We do experimental research in humans, mice, organs/tissues, and cells, using state-of-the-art physiological, functional, biomolecular and related bioanalysis tools in an integrated manner. We are particularly interested in how skeletal muscle metabolism changes in (early) aging and in the role of mitochondria, oxidative stress and innervation. Another topic of study is atrial fibrillation, focusing on a better mechanistic understanding of the role of risk factors, such as oxidative stress, aging and diabetes, in the development of atrial fibrillation. Finally, we are interested to our understanding in how metabolism in various metabolic organs (adipose tissue, liver, skeletal muscle, intestine) is affected by aging and obesity using metabolic flux analysis in mice and complex cell systems.

Main aims

  • Mechanistically understand the role of energy metabolism, substate metabolism, redox metabolism and mitochondria in age-related health.
  • Develop (nutritional) strategies to prevent age-related decline in skeletal muscle function, to improve age-related metabolic health and to prevent atrial fibrillation


Human studies focused on skeletal muscle function (strength, fatigue, EMG, electrostimulation, NIRS for non-invasive mitochondrial function, ventilated hood); Mouse studies focused on whole body metabolism (24 cage indirect calorimetry, with automated food, drink, activity sensors, additional H2, CH4, H2S, 13CO2, 12CO2 sensors and hypoxia exposure); Langendorff and Rodnoti systems for ex-vivo heart and skeletal muscle function; Drosophila model for atrial fibrillation; Seahorse XF96 and Oroboros flux analysis; transcriptome analysis; large variety of biochemical, molecular biology, and microscopy tools.


  • NWO
  • EU
  • Industry (co)funding