Background: Obesity and obesity-related diseases are among the top causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. One approach to combat obesity is to increase energy expenditure via the activation of brown adipose tissue (BAT). In contrast to white adipose tissue that stores energy, BAT burns energy to produce heat, a process known as thermogenesis. Identifying the molecular pathways that regulate BAT development and function is essential for therapeutic targeting of this tissue to increase whole body energy expenditure for the treatment of obesity.
The project: We have identified some new gene targets via RNA-sequencing that are associated with altered BAT activity. To explore the function of these genes, this project will use gain- and loss-of-function models in brown adipocytes in vitro (and potentially in vivo). Specifically, we will generate these models using state-of-the-art CRISPR/Cas9 technology to increase or decrease target gene expression. To assess the function of these genes/proteins in brown adipocytes, we will use a range of biochemical and molecular biology techniques to assess metabolic function and alterations in gene and protein expression. This project will increase our understanding of BAT function, while providing key technological skills and knowledge of metabolism for the student.
The student. We are looking for skilled bachelor or Master’s students who are enthusiastic about research, and have the ability to quickly learn and work independently. You will be mentored by a Postdoc in the lab who will train and assist you with directing the research project.
Contact: Assistant Professor Brice Emanuelli (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Dr. Erin Brown (email@example.com).