Diabetes Center member, Rajan Sah receives new NIH grant

Congratulations to Dr. Rajan Sah, Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Cardiology and a member of the the FOEDRC for receiving an RO1 grant for $2.06 million from the National Institutes of Health entitled: "Tuning fat cell size and obesity through SWELL1”. Dr. Sah’s proposal seeks to address a fundamental question that impacts our understanding of the obesity epidemic namely: What are the mechanisms engineered into the fat cell (adipocyte) that permits its remarkable ability to expand, by up to 30 times its original size? His project will determine if there are cellular “stretch” sensors active within the adipocyte to respond to such massive changes in cell size. Answering these questions will shed new light on the basic biology of fat storage, the pathophysiology of obesity and will potentially identify novel therapeutic targets for the prevention of obesity and associated diseases. Dr. Sah's laboratory has identified a novel stretch/swell-activated protein in mouse and human adipocytes, recently named SWELL1 which is activated in adipocytes in obesity and is required for both maintaining normal fat content and for activation of pathways required for fat metabolism.

They will test the novel concept that SWELL1 connects sensing of adipocyte size with regulation of fat metabolism - an innovative notion that will contribute to our understanding of adipocyte biology and may guide therapeutic approaches to treating obesity and its associated metabolic disorders such as diabetes.

Monday, May 2, 2016