The modern world is in the midst of an obesity epidemic that is growing to the extent that, in 2009-2010, more than one-third (37.5%) of US adults were obese and more than 50% were overweight. This dramatic increase in body weight has led to a significant increase in the number of individuals with obesity-related disorders including Type-2 Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and dyslipidemia. A worrying trend is that children and adolescents are also becoming obese (with more than 5 million girls and 7 million boys obese between age 2 and 19) and consequently are succumbing to metabolic diseases that a decade ago only occurred in adults. Awareness of this trend has stirred a significant effort to understand more about the link between adiposity and metabolic disease.
Physiological control of metabolism involves an elaborately coordinated process involving cross-talk between several organs and tissues that regulate the production of hormones and the metabolism of lipids and glucose. In an effort to gain a greater understanding of the control of energy balance, investigators in the Department of Biochemistry are attempting to identify the molecular mechanisms within each tissue that contribute to the overall control of metabolism. This research has included defining the signaling pathways and transcriptional events that specify production and action of metabolically important hormones and cytokines.
- Stephen R. Farmer (Transcriptional control of adipocyte formation and function)
- Alla Grishok (Gene regulation by RNA and chromatin)
- Konstantin Kandror (Cell biological aspects of insulin signaling)
- Matthew Layne (Adipose tissue formation and fibrosis)
- Valentina Perissi (Obesity-induced inflammation, transcriptional regulation of lipid metabolism)
- Paul F. Pilch (Vesicular traffic related to insulin action, caveolae, lipodystrophies)
- Barbara Schreiber (Inflammation and smooth muscle cell lipid metabolism)