Metabolic imbalance and mitochondrial dysfunction have been associated with the development of the metabolic syndrome and many of its contributing diseases (cardiovascular disease, obesity and type II diabetes). Restoration of normal metabolic balance and mitochondrial function are important factors to eradicating this disorder. To date, diet and exercise have been proven to be the best intervention in the treatment of the many of metabolic syndrome. However, many of the molecular mechanisms responsible for these improvements are poorly understood. The research interest of the laboratory focuses on understanding the molecular pathways that influence mitochondrial metabolism in response to diet and exercise, in order to improve mitochondrial function and reduce the deleterious effects of the metabolic syndrome. Specifically, the lab studies the PGC-1 family of transcriptional coactivators and the molecular pathways they regulate in striated muscle to maintain normal mitochondrial function (including biogenesis, oxidative capacity and dynamics) and normal metabolic function. The laboratory utilizes a variety of molecular techniques, cell-based assays as well as genetically modified mouse models.
Various projects are available in the laboratory include:
1.) the study of mitochondrial adaptions in response to exercise.
2.) understanding the molecular changes in skeletal muscle that contribute to atrophy.
3.) the identification and characterization of new regulators of mitochondrial metabolism.