Department of Biochemistry
Tenure-track Faculty Positions Available in Chemical Biology
A vigorous group of scientists and trainees dedicated to the expansion and transmission of knowledge about the biological world. Our particular focus is the characterization of macromolecules and biological processes at the molecular level. Research groups in the department address the structure of biological macromolecules, the mechanisms by which they function, and the possible applications to research technology and to medicine. more
CLAUDIO VILLANUEVA, Ph.D.
We are interested in the transcriptional regulation of metabolism and how adipocytes establish their distinct metabolic programs. Adipocytes are specialized cells with a tremendous capacity to store energy in the form of triglycerides. There are three types of adipocytes, white, brown, and beige. White adipocytes store energy, while brown adipocytes consume energy for the highly energy demanding process of thermogenesis. Brown adipocytes are activated within minutes of cold exposure, while beige adipocytes are thermogenic like brown adipocytes, but appear in white adipose tissue with long-term cold exposure. In humans, brown fat activity is inversely correlated with body weight. Suggesting that brown fat plays a key role in contributing to whole body energy expenditure. Our laboratory is using imaging, biochemical, genetic, genomic, proteomic, and lipidomic approaches to study transcriptional regulators that program these distinct adipocyte subtypes.