Nuclear Hormone Receptors and Metabolic Diseases
Nuclear receptors consist of a superfamily of ligand-activated transcription factors known to regulate diverse physiologic processes by binding to DNA and activating the transcription of gene networks. Many nuclear receptors have been implicated in the pathophysiology and treatment of disease. Currently, the lab is working toward understanding the mechanisms of nuclear receptor activation and function in metabolic diseases such as diabetes and obesity with special emphasis on the glucocorticoid receptor (GR), liver x receptors (LXRα and LXRβ), and the peroxisome proliferator activated receptors (PPARα/δ/γ).
The overall goal of the lab is to further our knowledge of the molecular mechanisms of these signaling pathways, with the aim of identifying novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of human disease. This includes the study of signaling pathways upstream and downstream of receptor activation; the characterization of novel co-regulatory proteins; and the influence of nuclear receptor modulation on whole animal physiology.
Trainees from the lab will gain broad experience in the analysis of molecular mechanisms of gene expression using in vitro models of immortalized and primary cells in culture and whole animal physiology using murine knockout animal models. The lab is interested in identifying novel ligands for nuclear receptors as well as quantitating the downstream physiologic effects of nuclear receptor activation and has acquired sophisticated analytical technology to facilitate these discoveries.