Research Statement

We are interested in studying the transcriptional networks that regulate metabolism and how adipocytes establish their distinct metabolic programs. Adipocytes are specialized cells with a tremendous capacity to store energy in the form of triglycerides.  There are three types of adipocytes, white, brown, and beige. White adipocytes store energy, while brown adipocytes consume energy for the highly energy demanding process of thermogenesis.  Brown adipocytes are activated within minutes of cold exposure, while beige adipocytes are thermogenic like brown adipocytes, but appear in white adipose tissue with long-term cold exposure.  In humans, brown fat activity is inversely correlated with body weight.  Suggesting that brown fat plays a key role in contributing to whole body energy expenditure.  Our laboratory will use imaging, biochemical, genetic, genomic, proteomic, and lipidomic approaches to study transcriptional regulators of adipocyte biology.

Villanueva Lab