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Kim Lab

Energy Homeostasis, Food Intake, Obesity, and Metabolic Syndrome

flowchartOne of the key processes in energy balance is to sense and respond to changes in nutrients (e.g amino acids, glucose, or lipid). How do nutrient sensors converge to control appetite and energy balance?

The ability to sense nutrients and regulate energy balance is a fundamental process of all the living creatures. Obesity, an increasingly common health problem in the U.S. and throughout the developed world, has been acknowledged as the second leading cause of death, behind smoking. Obesity has been linked to diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and a myriad of other health problems. Obesity results from disturbed energy balance, where energy intake (i.e. feeding) chronically exceeds total energy expenditure. A flurry of research activities has identified many genetic or biochemical components for nutrient sensing and has elucidated their roles in obesity and obesity-associated diseases. However the mechanism(s) underlying the development of obesity and the interplay between numerous components are still poorly understood. One of the primary goals in my laboratory is to understand how our body senses and responds to different levels of nutrients such as glucose or lipid, and how different pathways cross talk to each other.