Life, Lipids, and the Pursuit of Understanding

Posted by Andrew Atwood on

As our name suggests, Life Lipids is passionate about the inseparable link between lipid biomolecules and the organization of life. Life Lipids is a manufacturer of bioactive, structural, and otherwise unique lipid species for the purposes of enabling research, development, and the advancement of human medicine.  

Since its inception billions of years ago, organized compartmentalization has been essential for life. The many processes of homeostasis require barriers to separate chemical species that would otherwise interact randomly and lead to cellular disorganization and collapse, while simultaneously permitting the meticulous passage of those required within an individual cell or cellular compartment. Nature selected for higher-order lipid assemblies to construct the first semi-permeable barriers, thereby creating a means to separate the chemistries of life from the complex aqueous environment in which life resides. As such, all living systems make use of complex mixtures of lipids and lipid-bearing biomolecules to construct and maintain specific membrane functionalities. Due to the critical connection between lipids and cellular life, nature further adapted lipids to serve vital roles in cell signaling and metabolism through their ability to seamlessly target and interact with membrane components, such as G-protein coupled receptors. In totality, it is clear that lipids maintain a number of functions for life as we know it, and further understanding of these functions may lead to enormous strides in the medicinal application of lipid biomolecules.

In an effort to grasp how the diversity of this biomolecule class makes life possible, lipid research has grown significantly in the past; however, our collective understanding of lipids lags behind that of other biomolecules.


Life Lipids: synthetic chemists expanding the boundaries of lipid research

While there are a number of explanations to justify why lipid research has grown more slowly, largely it can be boiled down to limitations stemming from the lack of affordable sources of lipids. Without a cost-effective source of lipid molecules of interest, large scale bioactivity studies are often cost-prohibitive or simply impossible. While lipid isolation from living organisms has addressed some of these challenges, these methods often fail to provide lipids at high enough rates and/or quantities for application towards in vivo and clinical study. This is particularly true of lipids that serve essential functions but exist in lower natural abundance. In addition, the speed of lipid isolation and sample identification depends on the availability of high quality standards for analytical assessment, which often are not available.

Life Lipids formed through the collaboration of like-minded synthetic chemists, who together identified this formidable challenge within the burgeoning field of lipid biomedicine. With years of combined experience synthesizing, purifying, and working with this challenging molecular family, the Life Lipids team has developed the means to rapidly provide academic and industry labs alike with high quality, bulk lipid samples at an affordable price. Furthermore, our passion has led us to seek out newly discovered lipid molecules, such as chlorolipids in order to provide pioneering labs with synthetic lipids long before other chemical suppliers would invest the resources. At Life Lipids, we also strive to offer analytical standards, like isotopically labeled compounds, as well as chemical biological probes to further round out the needs of cutting-edge researchers.

Through the development of new synthetic methodologies and chemical processes, Life Lipids aims to expediate lipid research by providing biochemical and biomedical researchers with the lipids they need without headache and without breaking the bank.

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