The focuses of our scientific research have been studying the molecular and cellular mechanisms of metabolic disorders including obesity and diabetes, diabetic complications, such as impaired wound healing, and developing pharmacological and nutraceutical therapeutics.
We have developed and established experimental settings and methodologies to study mitochondrial functions, fuel (such as glucose and fatty acid) selection and utilization in cells, tissues and whole body, and to study metabolically important physiological/pathological aspects of animals including glucose homeostasis, insulin sensitivity, energy homeostasis, and etc.
We have discovered that a natural compound, mangiferin (MGF), is a novel activator of pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH), which is the central gate-keeper of carbohydrate oxidative metabolism in mitochondria. MGF enhances carbohydrate oxidation in myotubes and muscle tissues. Our unbiased proteomics study revealed that MGF upregulates mitochondrial bioenergetics and downregualtes lipogenesis. We are currently investigating the molecular mechanisms of mangiferin modulation of mitochondrial bioenergetics, lipogenesis, lipolysis and adipogenesis. We are also studying the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of MGF, and developing MGF into a therapeutics for treatment of metabolic disorders.
Prostaglandins (PGs) are found in virtually all tissues and organs. They are autocrine and paracrine lipid mediators that act upon platelet, endothelium, uterine and mast cells, and diverse immune cells. The biological signals and physiological events they trigger range from pain and inflammation, to vasodilation and urinary sodium excretion, to cell growth and angiogenesis, and to thermogenesis and adipogenesis. We have shown that PGT regulates the degradation and catabolism of PGs and thereby regulates PG signaling.
Taking an approach of high throughput screening and subsequent structure-relation studies of synthetic small molecules we have successfully developed potent inhibitors of prostaglandin transporter (PGT).
We have uncovered that prostaglandin transporter (PGT) plays an important role in wound healing, especially diabetic wound healing. We have demonstrated that PGT regulates angiogenesis in wound healing. Inhibition of PGT accelerates wound healing in diabetes. We are currently investigating the role of PGT in inflammation during wound healing. We will further elucidate the molecular mechanisms by which PGT modulates inflammation and angiogenesis in wound healing.