Associate Professor, Medicine and Biological Chemistry, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Department and Institute Affiliations
- Department of Medicine (primary), Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
- Department of Biological Chemistry (secondary), Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
- Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
- Institute for Fundamental Biomedical Research, John’s Hopkins All Children’s Hospital
- B.S., University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, 1993
- Ph.D., University of Toledo, Ohio, 2002
Dr. Poy is a senior scientist and a member of the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Institute for Fundamental Biomedical Research. He also is an associate professor of medicine and biological chemistry in the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He studies the function of non-coding RNAs in energy metabolism and their regulatory role in the pathogenesis of obesity and diabetes.
Dr. Poy is among the first to describe how microRNA—tiny molecules that fine-tune how genes carry out the information encoded in our DNA—could target a specific gene and control insulin secretion. He is at the leading edge of microRNA research, which holds promise for understanding how these molecules contribute to an adaptive, compensatory response in the regulation of glucose homeostasis, and may be applied to treatment for diabetes and potentially other metabolic-based diseases related to the pancreas, heart and liver.
Born in Bethesda, Maryland, Dr. Poy studied biology and earned a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences at the Medical College of Ohio in Toledo. He did post-doctoral work with Markus Stoffel, M.D., Ph.D., at Rockefeller University and relocated in 2007 with Dr. Stoffel to the ETH-Zürich in Switzerland. In 2008, Dr. Poy started a 10-year stint at the Max Delbruck Center for Molecular Medicine in Berlin, Germany, before joining Johns Hopkins All Children’s in 2018.
Honors and Awards
- European Research Council Starting Grant, European Research Council, 2010
Adaptation to environmental stress is a fundamental cellular process that promotes the maintenance of the physiologic steady state. Stress responses have been shown to induce numerous changes, such as activation of gene expression programs that have evolved to allow for the cell to promote its own survival.
The focus of Dr. Poy’s laboratory is to elucidate the molecular mechanisms that impact energy homeostasis and contribute to the pathogenesis of metabolic diseases including diabetes. Many insights into the functional role of microRNAs have recently been made, improving understanding of how these small RNAs integrate into the complex landscape of gene expression.
In addition, the profiling of non-coding RNAs from numerous disease states such as cancer, hyperglycemia, obesity and insulin resistance, and inflammation has identified dramatic changes in many abundant small RNA sequences indicating RNA silencing plays a significant role in adapting cells to changes in their metabolic environment. Dr. Poy’s current research goals are to identify and characterize the RNA silencing mechanisms that regulate energy homeostasis during changes in nutrient availability and how this pathway ultimately contributes to the metabolic disease including diabetes and obesity.
Dr. Poy's research interests include:
- Regulatory role of microRNAs and RNA-binding proteins in energy metabolism
- Mechanisms of metabolic disease
- Diabetes and obesity
- Yan X, Wang Z, Bishop CA, Weitkunat K, Feng X, Tarbier M, Luo J, Friedlander MR, Burkhardt R, Klaus S, Willnow TE, Poy MN. Control of hepatic gluconeogenesis by Argonaute2. Mol Metab. 2018 Oct 9. pii: S2212-8778(18)30794-4. doi: 10.1016/j.molmet.2018.10.003.
- Yan X, Wang Z, Schmidt V, Gauert A, Willnow TE, Heinig M, Poy MN. Cadm2 regulates body weight and energy homeostasis in mice. Mol Metab. 2018 Feb;8:180-188. doi: 10.1016/j.molmet.2017.11.010. Epub 2017 Nov 22. PMID: 29217450
- Yan X, Wang Z, Westberg-Rasmussen S, Tarbier M, Rathjen T, Tattikota SG, Peck BCE, Kanke M, Oxvig C, Frystyk J, Starup-Linde J, Sethupathy P, Friedlander MR, Gregersen S, Poy MN. Differential Impact of Glucose Administered Intravenously and Orally on Circulating miR-375 Levels in Human Subjects. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2017 Oct 1;102(10):3749-3755. doi: 10.1210/jc.2017-01365. PMID: 28973164
- Rathjen T, Yan X, Kononenko NL, Ku MC, Song K, Ferrarese L, Tarallo V, Puchkov D, Kochlamazashvili G, Brachs S, Varela L, Szigeti-Buck K, Yi CX, Schriever SC, Tattikota SG, Carlo AS, Moroni M, Siemens J, Heuser A, van der Weyden L, Birkenfeld AL, Niendorf T, Poulet JFA, Horvath TL, Tschop MH, Heinig M, Trajkovski M, Haucke V, Poy MN. Regulation of body weight and energy homeostasis by neuronal cell adhesion molecule 1. Nat Neurosci. 2017 Aug;20(8):1096-1103. doi: 10.1038/nn.4590. Epub 2017 Jun 19. PMID: 28628102
- Tattikota SG, Rathjen T, McAnulty SJ, Wessels HH, Akerman I, van de Bunt M, Hausser J, Esguerra JL, Musahl A, Pandey AK, You X, Chen W, Herrera PL, Johnson PR, O'Carroll D, Eliasson L, Zavolan M, Gloyn AL, Ferrer J, Shalom-Feuerstein R, Aberdam D, Poy MN. Argonaute2 mediates compensatory expansion of the pancreatic β cell. Cell Metab. 2014 Jan 7;19(1):122-34. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2013.11.015. Epub 2013 Dec 19. PMID: 24361012