Our Major Research Interests
- The biology of the adipocyte, specifically the pathways that control differentiation of adipocytes from precursor cells. We have focused our attention on the transcriptional cascades that regulate adipogenesis, which include such factors as PPARgamma, C/EBPalpha, and others.
- The ways that adipocytes modulate their intrinsic insulin sensitivity, mechanisms which may go awry in states of metabolic dysfunction, such as obesity and type 2 diabetes.
We have established that the transcription factor PPARgamma is required for adipogenesis in vivo and in vitro, and we are now focusing on a putative "second-wave" of transcription factors that controls terminal gene expression in adipocytes. We have shown that C/EBPalpha, proposed by many to be a central regulator of adipogenesis, is actually dependent on PPARgamma for its activity. We are investigating mechanisms of lipodystrophy induced by antiretroviral therapy in AIDS.