Arts and Sciences Dean Hsiao-Ping Moore has continued the active research agenda that she pursued for 20 years at the University of California at Berkeley, and a grant from the National Science Foundation is supporting her ongoing research into the connection between obesity and diabetes.
In collaboration with Professor James Granneman of Wayne State University’s School of Medicine, Moore is looking into the link between obesity and metabolic diseases such as type II diabetes.
“The goal is to understand why obesity contributes to diabetes. We know that when there is too much fat around in a cell, it somehow compromises the cellular processes involved in insulin signaling,” Moore said.
The specific goal of the research supported by the NSF grant is to understand a possible cause of lipotoxicity, the creation of high fat metabolite levels in a cell. In a healthy cell, fatty acids produced by the cell are somehow channeled to a site where oxidation, or conversion of the fat into energy, occurs. Scientists don’t understand how the channeling occurs, and Moore and Granneman want to find out what is happening that disrupts the process in obesity.
“We think something is broken in the channeling, and we suspect that a protein called PLIN5 is involved. We want to know how PLIN5 works, especially in a disease state,” Moore said.