Besides its role as a clinical trial centre, the VIVIT engages in basic research, in particular into the origin of obesity-related illnesses. For this purpose, fat cells (adipocytes) are cultured under different conditions, for instance in a low-oxygen environment to mimic the effects of oxygen deprivation on adipose tissue. This scenario arises in obese patients where the blood supply to the abdominal fat tissue is suboptimal and a sustained lack of oxygen occurs. This so-called state of chronic hypoxia elicits inflammatory reactions, which are involved in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis and numerous other illnesses. By means of adipose cell culture, the VIVIT molecular biology laboratory investigates the underlying molecular mechanisms.