Nutrient Control of Hepatic Metabolism and Signaling

The regulation of metabolic homeostasis is a complex process coordinated by numerous growth factors and hormones signaling the availability of energy and nutrients. While it is well known that the liver functions to maintain energy homeostasis by producing energy sources for other cells during nutrient deprivation, the liver is also becoming recognized as a major regulator of systemic energy metabolism through production of hepatokines. These liver derived hormones signal nutrient availability to other tissues and control substrate utilization to maintain energy balance. My lab is interested in unraveling these hepatic pathways that govern systemic energy balance by focusing on known and novel hepatokines. The purpose is two-fold: 1) secreted factors are a rich source of new therapeutics because they are designed to circulate and signal, and 2) nutrient signaling is dysregulated in several diseases including diabetes and cancer. To identify and examine hepatokine function, my lab integrates biochemistry, proteomics, cell biology, metabolomics, and mouse genetics. By unraveling these liver-derived networks, we hope to identify a new therapeutic to treat obesity and metabolic disease.