Overall research program
Our Laboratory studies the adaptive regulation of food intake, energy expenditure, hepatic lipid metabolism and glucose homeostasis in response to physiological and environmental changes, such as starvation, obesity and normal aging. Specifically, we are investigating the signaling mechanisms by which specific hypothalamic neurons integrate diverse metabolic signals, and how disruption of these signaling mechanisms contributes to the development of cellular leptin resistance, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. A recent research focus of the laboratory is to understand the role of specific hypothalamic neurons in regulation of hepatic steatosis via modulation of the autonomic nervous system in response to metabolic challenges such as high-fat feeding and binge drinking. Together, these research efforts will help better understand how energy balance and hepatic lipid metabolism are regulated normally and how these regulations are disrupted in obesity, diabetes and fatty liver diseases.