Lipid Metabolism and Cardiometabolic Disease

Metabolic diseases such as diabetes, steatohepatitis, and coronary artery disease result from the delivery of nutrients that exceed a tissue’s energetic needs or storage capacity. The excess nutrients give rise to deleterious lipid species that impair cellular function. Summers and colleagues found that ceramides, a class of sphingolipids, alter the metabolism of liver and adipose tissue in a way that gives rise to cardiometabolic disease. Continue reading → Lipid Metabolism and Cardiometabolic Disease

Research Statement

Professor Summers had been a dominant voice advancing the idea that sphingolipids such as ceramide, which are produced by over-nutrition and inflammation, contribute to insulin resistance and metabolic disease. The opinion was initially controversial, and few publications other than his appeared on the topic. Nonetheless, the data were robust and the therapeutic potential of the pathway obvious. His work has appeared in the highest impact journals (e.g. Nature Medicine, Cell Metabolism, Journal of Clinical Investigation and others) and have been cited over 8000 times. He has given over 100 presentations in at least 20 different countries, including keynote talks in Japan, Finland and the USA, and received over 10 million dollars in research grant support. His work has influenced the directions of new and established researchers and the number of publications containing the words ceramide and insulin has risen exponentially. His current group continues to explore the therapeutic potential of the pathway with an eye towards developing new therapies to treat diabetes and metabolic disease.