Growing out of initial research in the department by Dr. Gerald Spurr elucidating the physiological effects of chronic malnutrition in Cali, Colombia, current work in our department focuses mainly on the physiological and hormonal regulation of glucose homeostasis and adiposity. Our main emphasis is on the study of metabolic alterations in obesity and diabetes. Research combines the molecular analysis of target tissues using microarray technology and proteomics with detailed analysis of metabolites and organismal function in cellular model systems, animal models and human biopsy samples. Additional efforts are aimed at elucidating the roles of neuropeptide Y and other hormonal regulators in basic metabolic processes of obesity, diabetes and hypertension.
Data from some of these studies are being used to build a multi-scale computational model of molecular energetics and mechanics. This model will help us understand the pathophysiology of the progression of substrate imbalances (hyperglycemia and dyslipidemia), insulin resistance and the onset of type II diabetes in the metabolic syndrome, a common human disorder that includes obesity, diabetes, dyslipidemia, and hypertension.