Rajan Sah, MD, PhD

Contact Information

Office: 4334 PBDB
Phone: 319-353-5660
Faculty Profile

Brief description of current research:

Obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome are major public health problems and significant risk factors for heart disease in the United States and world-wide. As a clinical cardiologist, I am faced with managing these conditions in patients on a regular basis. My lab is currently focused on studying ion channels as regulators of cellular metabolism. Specifically, my research interests focus on intracellular signaling of transient receptor potential channels (including TRPV3, TRPV4 and TRPM7), and the recently identified volume regulatory anion channel SWELL1 (LRRC8a) as they relate to obesity, growth and metabolism. To do this we combine cellular electrophysiology, calcium imaging and novel genetic techniques (including transient and stable lenti/AAV-shRNA-mediated knockdown and CRISPR-mediated knockout) in cultured cells (mouse and human) and freshly isolated, primary adipocytes, hepatocytes, skeletal myocytes, endothelial cells and pancreatic ?-cells. Genetic loss-of-function (CRISPR-mediated and conventional) mouse models for these ion channels are also used to examine their functions in vivo and in disease settings.

3 most influential diabetes/obesity/metabolism publications:

  • Zhang Y, Xie L, Gunasekar S, Tong D, Mishra A, Gibson W, Wang C, Fidler T, Marthaler B, Klingelhutz A, Abel E.D, Smith J, Samuel I, Cao L, and Sah R. SWELL1 is a regulator of adipocyte size, insulin signaling and glucose homeostasis Nat Cell Biol. 2017 Apr 24. doi: 10.1038/ncb3514. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 28436964
  • Kang C, Gunasekar S.K., Mishra A, Xie L, Zhang Y, Pai S, Gao Y, Norris A.W., Stephens S.B, Sah R., SWELL1 is a glucose sensor required for ?-cell excitability and systemic glycaemia. Nat Commun. 2018 Jan 25;9(1):367. doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-02664-0.
  • Xie L, Zhang Y, Gunasekar  S, Mishra A, Cao L, Sah R., Induction of adipose and hepatic SWELL1 expression is required for maintaining systemic insulin-sensitivity in obesity. Channels (Austin). 2017 Sep 5:0. doi: 10.1080/19336950.2017.1373225. PMID: 28873008


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