Fighting obesity: At Harvard, Josua Jordi has discovered active ingredients that influence the eating behavior of animals. Now he is coming back to Switzerland.
Zebrafish have fully-formed internal organs, a central nervous system, and a blood-brain barrier. They are just four millimeters long. “The zebrafish is, therefore, well suited for studying active substances that change behavior,” says biochemist Josua Jordi.
After his doctorate at the University of Zurich, Jordi, who is 32, went to Harvard, where he mainly researched components that might help overweight people with their dieting. Of over 10,000 chemical compounds tested, 50 have proven effective. His next step will be to establish whether what works with zebrafish will also work with mice. For this purpose, Jordi has returned to the Institute of Veterinary Physiology at the University of Zurich. “If everything goes well, we will have proof of concept in a year’s time.
In another two years, clinical trials could begin.” He does not need to worry about the commercial interest in an appetite suppressant that is low in side effects: Obesity is a universal problem. There could be two billion potential patients worldwide.