Obesity is associated with insulin resistance, diabetes and cardiovascular problems. We want to know why and how obesity causes these problems and what can be done to either prevent or reverse it. For this purpose, we will investigate the molecular links between this cluster of pathologies. We think that one of the mechanisms that links obesity to other metabolic diseases is related to the impaired capacity of the adipose tissue (fat) to expand and function, causing it to release toxic lipid species that accumulate and affect other organs such as pancreas, liver and skeletal muscle.
Specifically we aim to:
a) understand the normal mechanisms enabling the adipose tissue to grow in a “healthy” way that does not result in the metabolic problems typically associated with obesity, such as diabetes and heart attacks;
b) define whether targeting brown adipose tissue, a type of fat that uses fat to make heat, can prevent or reverse obesity and its associated diseases; and
c) identify diagnostic biomarkers to identify the risk of developing complications as well as pathogenic therapeutically targetable mechanisms. For this purpose, we will use mouse models and cells, advanced experimental studies and technologies to validate our most significant findings before working with our collaborators to confirm them in humans.