Dr M.R. Boon (27) is a post-doctoral researcher at the Endocrinology department of Leiden University Medical Centre. She is receiving the 2016 Heineken Young Scientists Award for Medicine for her research on ‘brown fat’, a type of fat cell that – unlike ‘normal’ fat cells – metabolises glucose and lipids and converts them into body heat.
Mariëtte Boon studied medicine and biomedical sciences at Leiden University. She received her PhD in 2014 at the same university for her study of the role of brown fat in Dutch individuals prone to obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, especially those of South Asian (Hindustani) descent. Her research showed that they carry relatively little brown fat, respond differently to cold, and expend little energy when at rest.
In experiments involving animals, Boon discovered ways to activate brown fat, which may point the way to new treatments for obesity and associated disorders.
Despite her youth, Boon has authored/co-authored dozens of scientific publications, some appearing in high-impact journals. She has received nine awards and seven research grants. She is also one of the founders of the ‘Young Dutch Society for Endocrinology’.
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