BMBDG Seminar – Lawrence Kazak

“Adipocyte Control of Energy Balance” by Lawrence Kazak, Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry, McGill University, Rosalind and Morris Goodman Cancer Research Centre

The obesity pandemic has precipitated a steep rise in metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and many cancers. Globally, 40% of adults are overweight and 15% are obese. Obesity occurs when energy intake exceeds energy expenditure (energy imbalance). Thus, obesity can be caused by increased energy intake, decreased energy expenditure, or a combination of the two. Adipose tissue plays a central role in regulating whole-body energy homeostasis. Specifically, thermogenic (brown and beige) adipocytes can catabolize stored energy to generate heat. This capacity for thermogenesis holds tremendous promise as a therapy for metabolic diseases. The major focus of my lab is to identify the molecular mechanisms that drive adipocyte thermogenesis. By elucidating the genetic and metabolic pathways that control thermogenesis, we aim to recapitulate the positive effects of brown fat energy expenditure on health. To accomplish this, my lab uses molecular biology, bioenergetics, and stable isotope tracing to understand how adipocytes dissipate energy, at the level of cells and organelles. The physiological relevance of our findings is then examined using mice with engineered mutations in putative energy consuming pathways to test if these animals become obese (or not) when exposed to high calorie foods. Our research program will inform the development of therapies that support energy expenditure to combat obesity and related metabolic disorders.

Monday, April 8, 2019 @3:00 pm, LSC#3, 2350 Health Sciences Mall.

Host: Dr. Christian Kastrup