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Brian O'Neill, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor
Internal Medicine

Office: 3314 PBDB
Office Phone: 319-335-4736

Lab: 3400D1-3 PBDB

Lab Website: https://medicine.uiowa.edu/diabetes/Oneill

Research in the O’Neill lab is focused on understanding the mechanisms of Insulin/IGF-1/FoxO-regulated protein turnover and mitophagy in muscle.

Insulin is best known for its effects on glucose metabolism, but also has a significant impact on protein synthesis and degradation, especially in muscle. Muscle wasting in response to aging or immobilization can worsen in the context of insulin resistance or uncontrolled diabetes, but how this occurs and to what extent this is connected to defects in energy production in mitochondria is unknown. We showed that insulin and IGF-1 coordinate muscle growth and prevent muscle atrophy via suppression of FoxO transcription factors. Research in the O’Neill lab is now focusing on the mechanisms of FoxO-regulated protein turnover and mitochondrial recycling via autophagy (a process known as mitophagy). Using cell and animal models, we aim to dissect how cellular signals that coordinate muscle growth and mitochondrial energy production are disrupted in the diabetic state. We hope these findings will provide new targets for therapy to help prevent disability and aging-related muscle loss in patients with diabetes.

PubMed link

Department/Program Affiliations:
Internal Medicine
Molecular Medicine