February 08, 2023 International Day of Women and Girls in Science: Ingrid Zhang Meet Ingrid Zhang, MD, PhD, Research Fellow of the Clinician Scientist Program supported by the Berlin Institute of Health in the Department of Hepatology and Gastroenterology at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany, and member of the EF CLIF Inspiring and Writing Group.

In celebration of International Day of Women and Girls in Science, Ingrid gives insights into her work and shares her hopes and research goals as a scientist.

During her doctoral studies at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, she investigated the subcellular location and function of acyl-CoA-synthetase 4, an enzyme that activates free long-chain fatty acids prior to be metabolized in downstream pathways. "It was then that I discovered my interest for translational research with focus on the role of metabolism in human diseases", she explains.

Ingrid is interested in elucidating the role of metabolites in the pathogenesis of acute decompensation of cirrhosis and acute-on-chronic liver failure (ACLF). In particular, she aims to identify the triggers of systemic inflammation that lead to organ failure in patients with chronic liver disease. Immunometabolism is an emerging field bridging the gap between immunology and metabolism – it describes the changes in the metabolic pathways that occur in immune cells upon activation. Systemic inflammation is an energetically expensive process that requires adaptive metabolic changes in circulating immune cells contributing to disease pathology. "Understanding immune cell metabolism may help us identify new therapeutic targets to improve the excess mortality in patients with ACLF", she adds.