Category: Metabolism obesity and metabolic diseases


Ethan J. Weiss, M.D.

WeissE

Research Interests:
Coagulation, thrombosis, hemostasis, fibrinolysis, genetics, platelet, sexual dimorphism, growth hormone signaling, fatty liver disease, regulation of energy metabolism and obesity

Summary:
Our group has two main interests. The first is to understand the mechanisms underlying the regulation of energy metabolism by growth hormone. Growth hormone is well-known to promote lipolysis as a means of mobilizing energy from stores in the form of free fatty acids. To accommodate tissues and organs with increased energy needs, fatty acid uptake is also regulated by growth hormone. The precise molecular mechanisms driving these two processes remain unclear. With an aim toward understanding mechanisms of obesity and related conditions, we use a molecular and cellular approach combined with mouse genetic models to understand how growth hormone regulates lipolysis and the uptake of fatty acid by cells and tissues.

Our second interest is in defining novel mechanisms of thrombosis susceptibility. Our group has had a long interest in thrombosis. Recently, we have focused on understanding ways to modulate thrombosis risk without increasing the risk of bleeding. Here, we also use molecular, cellular, and mouse genetics approaches.

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Allison Wanting Xu, M.Sc., Ph.D.

Xu

Research Interests:
Hypothalamic regulation of energy balance, obesity and type 2 diabetes

Summary:
Our lab’s major research focus is to understand the mechanisms by which energy balance is regulated. We use a combination of mouse genetics, whole body physiology and real time imaging approaches to elucidate the function of specific hypothalamic neurons and how they integrate peripheral metabolic signals under distinct physiologic conditions.

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Kaveh Ashrafi, Ph.D.

Ashrafi

Research Interests:
Genetics of fat regulation and neurobiology of feeding behavior

Summary:
Obesity is a major risk factor associated with many diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal diseases, arthritis, and certain forms of cancers. The prevalence of obesity reflects the combination of high calorie diets with sedentary lifestyles. However, genetic predispositions play profound roles in determination of an individual’s fat. How genetic and environmental factor interact to determine fat content and how excess fat accumulation causes disease processes are poorly understood. To identify genes that underlie fat regulation we use the genetically tractable worm C. elegans. This system has allowed us to discover novel fat regulatory pathways, compounds that alter fat content, and probe the neural circuits that regulate fat and feeding.

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