Cellular mechanisms that promote or prevent lipotoxicity

The goal of this study is to characterize the fundamental cellular mechanisms of lipotoxicity, and to understand how these processes contribute to organ dysfunction in rodent models of metabolic disease. This work involves genetic screens in cultured cells into identify key molecular players in the lipotoxic response, as well as experiments to elucidate the contributions of these genes and their products in mouse models of obesity and diabetes and in transgenic mice with lipotoxic cardiomyopathy.

Lipid Biomarkers for Diabetic Complications

The goal of this study is to define the correlates between altered systemic lipid metabolism and early diabetic cardiomyopathy in asymptomatic individuals with type 2 diabetes. Our long-term goal is to develop novel lipid biomarkers for diagnosing the earliest structural and functional abnormalities of the heart in diabetes and for guiding therapy that may be applied to population-based practice.

Regulation of Cholesterol Homeostasis by Non-coding RNAs

The goal of this project is to examine the role of non-coding RNAs in regulation of cellular cholesterol homeostasis. Recent genetic screens in the Ory lab have identified non-coding loci in the modulating cholesterol levels in the cell.

Mechanisms of Endocytic Trafficking of Cholesterol

This project tests the hypothesis that the mechanism(s) governing the transfer of plasma membrane-derived cholesterol to the ER membranes critically depend upon the organization and composition of membrane lipids and structure. The plasma membrane to ER trafficking pathway serves a critical role in regulating cellular cholesterol homeostasis.