Current Research and Scholarly Interests
Energy metabolism encompasses the fundamental homeostatic processes by which we regulate our energy storage and energy expenditure. Dysregulation of energy metabolism is a hallmark of many age-associated chronic diseases, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemias, neurodegeneration, and cancer. Therefore a complete understanding of the molecular pathways of energy metabolism represents an important basic scientific goal with implications for many of the most pressing biomedical problems of our generation.
My laboratory studies the chemical signals that regulate mammalian energy homeostasis. Many classical examples include endocrine hormones such as insulin, steroids, and catecholamines. Nevertheless, recent large-scale data now suggest many more remain to be discovered. What are the identities of these molecules? What energy stressors do they respond to? Where are they made? What cell types or tissues do they act on? To answer these questions, we use chemical biology and mass spectrometry-based technologies as discovery tools. We combine these tools with classical biochemical and genetic techniques in cellular and animal models. Our goal is to discover new molecules and signaling pathways that regulate organismal energy metabolism.
We anticipate that our approach will uncover fundamental signaling mechanisms that control mammalian energy homeostasis. In the long term, we hope to translate our discoveries into therapeutic opportunities that matter for metabolic and other age-associated chronic diseases.