Conversations with Lipid Leaders: Dr. Dennis Voelker

Posted on September 29, 2021

Dennis Voelker

The Conversations with Lipid Leaders Interview Series brings forward insights and experience from the communities most influential and upcoming scientists to stay connected to current colleagues and inspire the next generation of Lipid Leaders! Keep reading for our interview with Dr. Dennis Voelker!

Tell us a little bit about yourself (current role, background, family, etc.)

I am currently Professor of Biochemistry, Molecular Genetics, and Medicine at NATIONAL JEWISH HEALTH and the University of Colorado School of Medicine. I did undergraduate studies at Indiana University; Graduate studies at the University of Tennessee; and postdoctoral studies at Harvard Medical School.

What do you consider the largest breakthrough in lipid research in recent years?

The broad application of lipidomic techniques to fundamental questions of cell and molecular biology

Did you always envision yourself becoming (A) a scientist? (B) Who influenced you to become a scientist?


B. Mostly, my undergraduate teachers at Indiana University

What led you to investigate lipids and their role in pulmonary surfactants related to the suppression of inflammation and infection?

I have always had an interest in immunology and phospholipids, and these current interests were formalized by research progress of fellows and collaborators in my laboratory over many years.

Your group recently improved upon a previous fluorescence assay that you developed for inhibitor screenings of phosphatidylserine decarboxylases (PSDs). Could you describe the significance that this technology might have in diagnostic and therapeutic research in the future?

The field of lipid biochemistry is ripe for expansion into the realm of screening for- and identifying- novel inhibitors of essential enzymes for application as new drugs for treating all types of microbial infections, including viruses, bacteria and fungi.

What are your hobbies? What do you like to do outside of the lab?

My biggest hobbies are bicycling and cross country skiing and birdwatching.

What was your favorite and least favorite course in school? What was the hardest course for you while you were in school?

Favorite Courses: American Literature

Hardest Course: Physical Chemistry

Do you have a favorite Avanti product or category of products? Maybe a product that you’ve found most helpful in your research?

CDP-diacylglycerols and Fluorescent phospholipids

We would like to thank Dr. Dennis Voelker for taking time to catch up with us!

Click HERE to learn even more about his exciting research!