My research interest centers on mechanisms that regulate muscle metabolism and growth. As the largest organ in the human body, skeletal muscle plays an indispensible function in glucose utilization and metabolism. In addition to its metabolic function, coordinated contractility of skeletal muscle powers body movement and exercise performance.
The nuclear receptor Nur77 (also known as NR4A1) integrates glucose metabolism in multiple tissues. We previously demonstrated that in skeletal muscle, Nur77 directs the transcription of a number of genes linked to glucose utilization. More recently, we identified Nur77 as a regulator of muscle mass and myofiber size in mice. These findings have led us to examine the crosstalk between muscle metabolism and growth. To address this question, we have active research projects investigation the function of Nur77 expression in muscle development, regeneration, and diabetic myopathy. Findings from these studies will broaden our fundamental knowledge of the signaling pathways that integrate metabolism and muscle mass, and may have translational applications in conditions such as diabetes, muscular dystrophy, cancer, cachexia, as well as other forms of muscle wasting.