Current Areas of Study
Our work focuses on understanding how the brain interacts with the organ systems to influence physical and mental health. Specifically, we investigate how metabolic regulators and metabolic states affect the brain and nervous system. Some of the genes being studied have been linked to neurological diseases like autism spectrum disorders and schizophrenia, and this work may offer targetable approaches in the treatment of these diseases.
Metabolic targets in liver cancer
We have discovered that changes in the metabolism of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) influence the development and progression of tumours. We identified that cancer cells specifically accumulate BCAAs to support its growth, by reducing the breakdown of BCAAs. By targeting BCAAs in tumours, our team is exploring new approaches to prevent and treat liver cancer.
Tackling type 2 diabetes
We have previously identified the critical regulator responsible for triggering the release of insulin. Type 2 diabetes, often attributed to obesity and a sedentary lifestyle, occurs when the pancreas is not making enough insulin (reduced insulin secretion) or cannot use insulin effectively (insulin resistance), leading to elevated levels of glucose in the blood. These findings could potentially provide therapeutic targets in insulin resistance and diabetes treatment.