All mammals harbor two types of adipose tissues that serve distinct physiological functions: white adipose tissue (WAT) and brown adipose tissue (BAT). WAT functions mainly in the storage of excess energy, while BAT specializes in dissipating energy in the form of heat and functions as a defense against hypothermia. Recent studies report that adult humans also have significant amounts of active BAT and it’s mass inversely correlates with adiposity, indicating the potential importance of BAT in human obesity.
Our lab aims to understand the developmental and molecular circuits that regulate fate specification of brown adipocytes and to investigate their roles in energy homeostasis under pathological conditions such as obesity and diabetes. Recent studies in our lab will be reviewed and discussed in the lecture.