Our research is focused on the transcriptional pathways that underlie metabolic diseases like obesity and Type 2 diabetes. In particular, we have a longstanding interest in using genomic and epigenomic approaches to identify novel transcription factors and pathways that regulate processes such as adipogenesis, lipid handling, insulin resistance, and metabolic memory. Our ultimate goal is to define novel targets that can be manipulated to improve outcomes in metabolic disease.
- Greg Westcott receives Abstract Award conferred by the European Vascular Biology Organisation
Greg Westcott’s oral presentation at the Lymphatics Gordon Research Conference in Lucca, Italy, received an Abstract Award conferred by the European Vascular Biology Organisation. Congratulations Greg!
- Congratulations to Greg Westcott on his newly awarded K08!
Congratulations to Greg Westcott on his newly awarded K08! It is titled Lymphatic-adipocyte interactions in obesity and lymphedema. The K08 will focus on specific mechanisms of the bidirectional relationship between adipocytes and lymphatic endothelial cells using metabolic and lymphatic vascular functional testing. It also includes single-nucleus RNA sequencing of adipose tissue hypertrophy associated with lymphatic diseases.
- Frankie Heyward discovers an unexpected transcriptional effector of leptin action in AgRP neurons
Frankie Heyward has discovered an unexpected transcriptional effector of leptin action in AgRP neurons. His manuscript “Integrated genomic analysis of AgRP neurons reveals that IRF3 regulates leptin’s hunger-suppressing effects” is now available on BioRxiv (https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2022.01.03.474708v1). Check it out!
- Suraj Patel shows hepatic IRF3 fuels dysglycemia in obesity through direct regulation of Ppp2r1b
Suraj Patel found that while global knockout of IRF3 reduces both liver insulin resistance and steatosis in obesity, hepatocyte-specific knockout of IRF3 in hepatocytes only affects insulin resistance. He was able to track a key target gene of IRF3 down: it’s Ppp2r1b, a component of the PP2A complex which affects AMPK and AKT signaling. This paper demonstrates that inflammation causes insulin resistance in liver by modulating signaling pathways that regulate gluconeogenesis. Read about it in Science Translational Medicine (Hepatic IRF3 Fuels Dysglycemia in Obesity Through Direct Regulation of Ppp2r1b. Science Translational Medicine, 2022; Mar 23;14(637):eabh3831. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.abh3831). Suraj’s paper was chosen for the cover image of the current issue Science Translational Medicine, seen here.
- Margo Emont spearheads optimization of single nucleus strategies for adipose tissue
The single cell revolution has been going on for a few years, but adipocytes have lagged, because their large size and fragility make them unamenable to traditional whole cell approaches. Our (long and expensive!) optimization of single nucleus strategies for adipose tissue finally pays off. Read our paper (A single cell atlas of human and mouse white adipose tissue. Nature, 2022) in Nature to learn about the diversity of cell types in mouse and human adipose tissue, the discovery of several unique adipocyte subpopulations, and associations between these cells and metabolic diseases like T2D. Cells are featured across visceral and subcutaneous depots, as well as in leanness and obesity. This work was spearheaded by Margo Emont.
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