Medicine, Immunology and Endocrinology- Denis
Professor Gerald Denis
Potential for UROP Funding, Potential for Academic Credit
Obesity and fat depots typically show signs of chronic inflammation. The cytokines and other factors associated with inflammation are known to cause insulin resistance. Unchecked, this process leads to TYpe 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and many other health problems. The molecular mechanisms that drive obesity-associated inflammation are poorly understood, yet are of tremendous public health importance, given the dramatic increase in the incidence of obesity and diabetes in the US and around the world. By all indications, this crisis is rapidly deepening. We study how elements of the immune system, particularly inflammatory macrophages, influence fat depots in humans, mouse models and in tissue culture, to identify new targets for therapy and novel ways to break the links between obesity and all its associated co-morbidities. Our approaches use molecular tools, flow cytometry, gene delivery and manipulation of the immune system of mouse models.