Fu, Yuchang , PhD
Identification and characterization of microRNAs regulated in metabolic syndrome
General Research Subject: Both Type 1 And Type 2 Diabetes
Focus: Complications, Complications\ Macrovascular-Atherosclerotic CVD and Human Diabetes
Type of Grant: Innovation
Project Start Date: January 1, 2013
Project End Date: December 31, 2014
Metabolic syndrome is a metabolic disease including obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease; however, the detailed molecular mechanisms that link these metabolic abnormalities are not clear. Based on our strong preliminary data, we will identify and characterize small molecules, miRNAs, in adiponectin receptor 1 modified macrophages/foam cells. These unique and innovative studies will provide novel insights into the causes of metabolic syndrome, which exert a huge burden of patient suffering and social costs, and identify new advance ways to prevent and treat metabolic diseases.
What area of diabetes research does your project cover? What role will this particular project play in preventing, treating, and curing diabetes?
Our project covers those research areas which are partially termed as the metabolic syndrome, including the complications, macrovascular diseases, atherogenesis and diabetes.
Adiponectin is a protein secreted from fat cells, and its low levels in blood have been linked to diabetes and other diseases. Both diabetes and cardiovascular disease are frequently occurred from the abnormal lipid metabolism, it is highly possible that adiponectin receptor in macrophage cells might prevent these disease by enhancing adiponectin action in these cells. The results of our project will determine the crucial roles played by adiponectin receptor in macrophages during the process of metabolic syndrome, and finally find the new medical methods to cure these human diseases.
If a person with diabetes were to ask you how your project will help them in the future, how would you respond?
Despite current basic medical research projects have not been yet immediately contributed on the benefits of curing human diseases, it is widely recognized that the accumulated scientific knowledge from the basic scientific research will help us to understand the mechanisms of these diseases, and finally to find the ways for preventing, treating and/or curing human diseases. Understanding the mechanisms of adiponectin receptor in metabolic syndrome is essentially one of the important keys to resolve the metabolic risks in diabetes and its complications.
Why is it important for you, personally, to become involved in diabetes research? What role will this award play in your efforts?
Diabetes and cardiovascular diseases remain the two leading causes of death in the United States. In recent years, when these diseases occur concomitantly, they are identified as the metabolic syndrome. Since joining the University of Alabama at Birmingham as a junior faculty member, I have been involved in projects that investigate molecular mechanisms of nuclear receptors, lipid binding protein, and adiponectin/adiponectin receptor gene regulation in activated macrophages and have started developing my research area of interest.
I am currently pursuing a research career in diabetes related research area and trying to obtain my NIH R01 funding for these research activities. This ADA Research Award will be an ideal vehicle for the development of my career in this field since it will give me the ability to further develop my research projects while maintaining a close interaction with other faculty members of our Department whose projects are also focused on the mechanisms of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.
In what direction do you see the future of diabetes research going?
The pathogenesis of diabetes is involved with multiple genes and/or multiple factors, it is critical to understand the mechanisms of diabetes and its complications. Metabolic syndrome is an obesity-related disease, mainly including type II diabetes mellitus, atherosclerotic/cardiovascular diseases, hypertension and dyslipidaemia; one of the prospects of diabetes research in the future would be the studies of interactions/effects among the metabolic risks in metabolic syndrome.
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