Since cells, including PDK4, fatty acid synthase, and acyl

Since the fall of my freshman year, I have been working under Dr. Stephen in her lab at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center. During this time, I have been taking part in her research with the regulation and activation of the STATs proteins in adipocytes. Adipocytes are specialized fat cells that contribute to energy homeostasis in humans. They are insulin-sensitive and have endocrine properties. Obesity is the primary disease of adipocytes and is a major risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. As a result, obesity and its associated disorders can result in an abnormality of the mechanisms that control how the body stores lipids, release insulins, and secret hormones from adipocytes.The identification of transcription factors that regulate the differentiation, induction, and maintenance of adipocytes have led to significant advances in the understanding of how these fat cells contribute to their associated diseases. My lab’s research mainly focuses on the STATs proteins, a family of transcription factors. These proteins comprise a group of latent transcription factors that are activated by a variety of hormones and growth factors. Once activated, these proteins translocate to the nucleus to regulate gene expression. Though STATs proteins are an integral part of functioning adipocytes, they represent a relatively unexplored paradigm in the transcriptional regulation of fat cells.Through our recent research, my lab has been able to demonstrate that STAT5A can promote adipogenesis. We have also been able to identify some STAT5 target genes in these fat cells, including PDK4, fatty acid synthase, and acyl CoA oxidase. Through our continue work with the STATs proteins in adipocytes, we hope to gain insight into the molecular mechanism regulating energy homeostasis that may contribute to a better understanding of the defects underlying type 2 diabetes and obesity.