Professor Stephen O’Rahilly’s research has led to an increased understanding of the genetic causes of human obesity and insulin resistance. Using modern biochemical approaches and classical clinical observation in humans with profound metabolic disorders, O’Rahilly, from the Departments of Medicine and Clinical Biochemistry at the University of Cambridge, has shown that a person’s appetite and feeding behavior can be linked to specific genes. His work has challenged long-held dogmas and led to new treatment avenues. The full interview includes many more stories about how you can learn more from reading Chekhov than medical school and why he has stayed in Cambridge all these years.
More than almost any other scientist in the field of obesity and metabolism research, the work of Bruce Spiegelman, from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School, has informed potential targets for drug discovery that could burn fat and even turn fat into muscle. He was the first to suggest that inflammation underscores insulin resistance, and also the first to find the key regulator of adipogenesis, PPAR-γ.
Brett Monia and Stefano Rivella discuss how reduction of TMPRSS6 expression with antisense oligonucleotides ameliorates iron metabolism disorders in mice. Highlights:
The liver secretes bile acids to aid in the digestion of fats. Cholestasis is a condition in which the bile flow from the liver to the duodenum is impeded. Patients with the disease exhibit itchiness (pruritis) and cannot sense pain (analgesia). The molecular mechanisms mediating these effects are unknown. Carlos Corvera of UCSF and Nigel Bunnett of Monash University discuss their study demonstrating that bile acids cause itch and analgesia by activating the TGR5 receptor in neurons. Highlights:
Increased brain uptake and oxidation of acetate in heavy drinkers Graeme Mason of Yale University discusses how heavy drinking influences metabolism and leads to alternate fuel use in the brain. Highlights: