Thermogenic fat cells that convert chemical energy into heat are present in both mice and humans. Recent years have witnessed a great advancement in our understanding of the regulation of these adipocytes and an increased appreciation of the potential these cells have to counteract obesity. Our research aims to understand the formation and activation of these fat cells and reveal how they may influence systemic metabolism.
The profound health consequences associated with obesity emphasize the importance of developing effective therapeutic interventions. My work focuses on a recently identified form of fat cells, so-called “beige cells.” Genetic manipulations that create more of these fat cells in mice have strong anti-obesity and anti-diabetic effects, and we are exploring potential new medicines that could have the same effect.
Jun Wu and her colleagues' research into beige fat and thermogenesis has been recognized by the scientific community, as well as being highlighted by news outlets including the Washington Post.
Jun H, Yu H, Gong J, Jiang J, Qiao X, Perkey E, Kim DI, Emont MP, Zestos AG, Cho J, Liu J, Kennedy RT, Maillard I, Xu XZS and Wu J. (2018) An immune-beige adipocyte communication via nicotinic acetylcholine receptor signaling. Nature Medicine.
Wu J#, Jun H and McDermott JR. (2015) Formation and activation of thermogenic fat. Trends Genet. # Correspondence author.
Wu J, Boström P, Sparks LM, Ye L, Choi JH, Giang AH, Khandekar M, Virtanen KA, Nuutila P, Schaart G, Huang K, Tu H, van Marken Lichtenbelt WD, Hoeks J, Enerbäck S, Schrauwen P and Spiegelman BM. (2012) Beige adipocytes are a distinct type of thermogenic fat cell in mouse and human. Cell.