Areas of Interest
Adipose tissue is a central metabolic endocrine organ that is crucial for storing excess energy and regulating energy balance. Obesity, defined by excess adipose tissue, can lead to metabolic dysfunction including diabetes and fatty liver disease. Interestingly, having too little adipose tissue can lead to similar complications: Familial partial lipodystrophy 2 (FPLD2) is a rare genetic disease where patients lose their adipose tissue progressively starting at puberty. FPLD2 patients develop insulin resistance, have hyperlipidemia, and have a leptin deficiency. FPLD2 is caused by mutations in the gene LMNA, encoding the proteins lamin A/C, key structural and DNA-interacting proteins that live in the nuclear lamina.
My research in the MacDougald lab seeks to uncover the mechanism of how FPLD2 patients lose their adipose tissue, which will both elucidate future treatments for lipodystrophies and enhance our understanding of adipocyte regulation. Our lab takes an integrative approach to study FPLD2, utilizing mouse and cell culture models along with obtaining samples from FPLD2 patients through collaboration with Dr. Elif Oral in the Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology, and Diabetes.