The focus of my research is to investigate how systemic metabolism is maintained in healthy states or disturbed in metabolic disorders. In particular, work from my group has revealed that adipose tissue, particularly thermogenic brown and beige fat, plays a key integrative role of maintaining energy homeostasis.
Our previous work identified that signaling via the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunit CHRNA2 is a novel thermogenic pathway selective to beige adipocytes in mice and humans, regulated by acetylcholine-producing immune cells within the same tissue niche, and plays an important function responding to environmental changes (Nature Medicine, 2018; Developmental Cell, 2020; EMBO Journal, 2021). This body of work has gained significant traction in the field in recent years (Trends in Cell Biology, 2022; Trends in Immunology, 2022). Our work has also expanded into liver function responding to metabolic challenges and liver injuries.
The lab is well funded in metabolic research, particularly in thermogenic adipocyte regulation and alcoholic and nonalcoholic fatty liver diseases. Past trainees in the lab benefited from an exciting and cutting-edge metabolic research program and career development support, and many of which have obtained independent positions in academic and industry.