Sharon Idiga
Mentor: Matthew Potthoff, Ph.D.
Lab Room: 3322 PBDB
Lab Phone: 319-335-7660

Novel Endocrine Circuit Regulating Sugar Satiety

The recent rise in obesity has been greatly influenced by food intake and diet composition. Although multiple studies have explored the complex regulation of food intake, the molecular mechanisms that govern the appetite for specific macronutrients are largely unknown.

Recently, the Potthoff lab demonstrated that the pleotropic hepatic endocrine factor, fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21), is shown to mediate endocrine control of simple sugar intake and sweet taste preference through its actions in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) of the hypothalamus. The PVN is comprised of various neurons, including oxytocin neurons, which project to the ventral tegmental area (VTA), or “reward center” of the brain. In addition, oxytocin neurons are responsible for the synthesis of oxytocin, and recent evidence revealed that oxytocin plays a role in regulating sweet taste preference. For my thesis work, I aim to determine whether FGF21 regulates simple sugar intake and sweet taste preference through its actions on oxytocin neurons in the PVN. Using novel mouse models and techniques, we seek to identify new mechanistic information into this liver-brain hormonal axis regulating central pathways controlling energy homeostasis and reward.

Zhang P, Kuang H, He Y, Idiga SO, Li S, Chen Z, Yang Z, Cai X, Zhang K, Potthoff MJ, Xu Y, Lin JD. NRG1-Fc improves metabolic health via dual hepatic and central action. JCI Insight. 2018 Mar 8;3(5). pii: 98522. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.98522. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 29515030; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5922292.

Klingelhutz AJ, Gourronc FA, Chaly A, Wadkins DA, Burand AJ, Markan KR, Idiga SO, Wu M, Potthoff MJ, Ankrum JA. Scaffold-free generation of uniform adipose spheroids for metabolism research and drug discovery. Sci Rep. 2018 Jan 11;8(1):523. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-19024-z. PubMed PMID: 29323267; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5765134.

BonDurant LD, Ameka M, Naber MC, Markan KR, Idiga SO, Acevedo MR, Walsh SA, Ornitz DM, Potthoff MJ. FGF21 Regulates Metabolism Through Adipose-Dependent and -Independent Mechanisms. Cell Metab. 2017 Apr 4;25(4):935-944.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2017.03.005. PubMed PMID: 28380381; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5494834.

deBoer, T.R., Palomino, R.I., Idiga, S.O., Millhauser, G.L. and Mascharak, P.K.: Tyrosine nitration in peptides by peroxynitrite generated in situ in a light-controlled platform: effects of pH and thiols. J Inorg Biochem. 138:24-30, 2014. PMID: 24857804.

Honors and Awards

  • Alfred P. Sloan Scholar, 2015
  • Molecular and Cellular Biology Program Retreat Poster Presentation Travel Award, 2016
  • ACRC 4th Annual Symposium Poster Presentation Travel Award, 2017
  • Iowa Physiological Society Meeting Poster Presentation Award, 2017
  • Graduate College Post-Comprehensive Research Award, 2017
  • 3-Minute Thesis Competition First Prize Winner and People’s Choice Award Winner, 2017
  • Dare to Discover Campaign, 2018
  • Outstanding Research Poster Presentation Award, Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center Research Day, 2018
  • University of Iowa Hawkeye Caucus Day Graduate Student Representative, 2018
  • Midwestern Association for Graduate students 3-Minute Thesis Competition Finalist, 2018