Obesity alters molecular architecture of liver cells; repairing structure reverses metabolic disease

Cells use their molecular architecture to regulate their metabolic functions, and repairing diseased cells’ architecture to a healthier state can also repair metabolism, according to a study led by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health researchers. The study used multiple computational platforms and high-resolution imaging with enhanced focused ion beam scanning electron microscopy, to generate three-dimensional reconstructions of specialized structures, called organelles, inside cells and made a comparative analysis of organelle architecture and organization of liver cells from lean and obese samples. Through these analyses, the team determined that obesity leads to dramatic alterations in sub-cellular molecular architecture, particularly in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), an organelle involved in the creation and shaping of proteins and lipids. The study was published online on March 9, 2022, in Nature.

Newly identified hormone may be a critical driver of type 1 and type 2 diabetes

A newly discovered hormone named fabkin helps regulate metabolism and may play an important role in the development of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, according to research led by the Sabri Ülker Center for Metabolic Research at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The study showed blood levels of fabkin were abnormally high in mice and human patients with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The researchers found that blocking the activity of fabkin prevented the development of both forms of diabetes in the animals. The study was published December 8, 2021, in Nature.

Dr. Hotamışlıgil named among most highly cited international researchers in 2019

“Highly Cited Researchers” from Clarivate Analytics is an annual list recognizing influential researchers in the sciences and social sciences from around the world. In 2019, fewer than 6,300, or 0.1%, of the world’s researchers, across 21 research fields, have earned this exclusive distinction. The list of Highly Cited Researchers 2019 identifies researchers at over 1,200 institutions across more than 60 countries.

What Have We Been Up To?

The Hotamışlıgil Lab and Sabri Ülker Center have had a busy few months! Lab members hit the road to attend Keystone Symposium in Vancouver: In April, many current and previous lab members attended the Keystone Symposia for Immunometabolism, Metaflammation, and Metabolic Diseases held in Vancouver. Dr. Hotamışlıgil was one of the three conference organizers. Hotamışlıgil Lab postdoctoral fellows and alumni had the chance to present exciting research findings during the…

Research Assistant’s Experience in the Hotamışlıgil Lab

Learn more about the scientists in the Hotamışlıgil Lab and Sabri Ülker Center, what drew them to science, the lab, and how the experience has impacted them.   In this interview, Research Assistant, Erika Cagampan talks with Dr. Renata Gonçalves about what drew her to pursue science and medicine, how she decided to join the Hotamışlıgil Lab, and what she has learned from her experience over the last three years.…

Could a popular food additive raise the risk for obesity and diabetes?

Researchers from the Hotamışlıgil Lab and the Sabri Ülker Center at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Sheba Medical Center in Israel have shown that propionate, a short-chain fatty acid and common food additive in baked goods and artificial flavoring, induces hyperglycemia, weight gain, and insulin resistance.   Consumption of propionate appears to increase levels of several hormones that are associated with risk of…

2018 EASD–Novo Nordisk Foundation Diabetes Prize for Excellence

Congratulations to Gökhan Hotamışlıgil for receiving this year’s 2018 EASD–Novo Nordisk Foundation Diabetes Prize for Excellence! Professor Gökhan Hotamışlıgil receives the 2018 EASD–Novo Nordisk Foundation Diabetes Prize for Excellence accompanied by DKK 6 million (€806,000) for his outstanding research efforts over the past 25 years that have led to groundbreaking new knowledge about the relationship between obesity and diabetes and potential paths for treatment. Chronic metabolic diseases such as obesity and diabetes…

Congratulations Dr. Lauren Robertson and Dr. Mustafa Yilmaz!

Congratulations to our newest PhD graduates — Dr. Lauren Robertson and Dr. Mustafa Yilmaz! Dr. Robertson is a graduate of Smith College and joined the lab as a graduate student in 2013. Dr. Yilmaz has been with the lab since 2012, following a degree from Bilkent University. We wish you all the best in your next chapters and cannot wait to see what the future holds!

Brown fat waste disposal facilities keeps you warm, healthy, and metabolically mighty

Researchers from the Hotamışlıgil Lab and the Sabri Ülker Center at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health have observed that one key adaptive response in the brown adipose tissue is through protein degradation, or simply put; eliminate cellular waste.  The scientists also identified that this critical response system is operated by a molecular switch known as NRF1 that responds to cold or other activating signals to turn on the disposal…

Molecular guardian defends cells, organs against excess cholesterol

A team of researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health has illuminated a critical player in cholesterol metabolism that acts as a molecular guardian in cells to help maintain cholesterol levels within a safe, narrow range. Known as Nrf1, it both senses and responds to excess cholesterol, and could represent a potential new therapeutic target in a multitude of diseases where cholesterol metabolism is disrupted. The study…