The modern world is in the midst of an obesity epidemic, which has caused a dramatic increase in people affected by obesity-related disorders including Type-2 Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and dyslipidemia. A particularly worrying trend is that children and adolescents are also becoming increasingly obese and consequently are succumbing to metabolic diseases that a decade ago only occurred in adults.
To better understand the link between adiposity and metabolic diseases, investigators in the Department of Biochemistry are studying the complex cross-talks occurring among the various organs and tissues that regulate endocrine signaling and nutrients metabolism. This includes attempting to identify the molecular mechanisms that contribute to the physiological control of metabolic homeostasis within each tissue as well as contributing to a better understanding of cells and tissues adaptation to metabolic stress. In particular, research in the Biochemistry Department has historically focused on the biology of the adipose tissue, including mechanistic studies on adipocyte biology, developmental origins of adipocytes, mechanisms of adipose tissue remodeling, production of hormones and cytokines, and characterization of adipogenesis and cross-talk between adipocytes and immune cells.
Several investigators in the Biochemistry Department are active participants in the NIDDK-funded Boston Nutrition Obesity Research Center (BNORC) and the Department is currently housing the BNORC Adipose Biology and Nutrient Metabolism Core, whose mission is to facilitate and foster adipose tissue research by providing access to human and mouse cells/tissues, assisting in method development and sponsoring the bi-weekly Adipose and Metabolic Tissue Study Group Seminar Series.
Outstanding opportunities for pre-doctoral and post-doctoral training are available through the NIDDK T32 Program in Metabolism, Endocrinology, and Obesity.
Faculty conducting research in this area:
Stephen R. Farmer
Growth and differentiation of cells, adipose tissue biology
Gene regulation by RNA and chromatin
fat cell biology
Matthew D. Layne
Assistant Dean for Research
Mechanisms of tissue fibrosis, aortic aneurysm, and mechanotransduction
Co-director, Boston Nutrition Obesity Research Center
Genomic Regulation of Metabolism, Nuclear-Mitochondria Communication