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Harvard expert on inflammation's role in obesity receives Columbia's 2010 Naomi Berrie Award
Date:11/19/2010

ers of especially promising young diabetes investigators. Each year, the recipient a senior scientist outside Columbia who has made major contributions to diabetes research is given $100,000 to support a two-year research fellowship for a student or research fellow in his or her laboratory. The second $100,000 award supports a research fellow at Columbia.

Dr. Hotamisligil Focuses on Immune Response and Underlying Mechanisms of Obesity

Recent years have witnessed a significant revision of the traditional view that fat cells simply store excess energy. Studies by Dr. Hotamisligil and his associates, as well as many others, have demonstrated that adipose tissue produces and regulates many metabolic and hormonal signals, generating profound effects on a body's endocrine equilibrium and in the development of diabetes.

Dr. Hotamisligil's research has played a preeminent role in the emergence of the concept that chronic inflammation is central to obesity and associated metabolic disorders, especially insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. He developed one of the models designed to definitively link inflammation, immune response and insulin action when he discovered that JNK (Jun N-terminal kinase), a protein that influences DNA transcription and other cellular processes, is implicated in the control of expression of many genes involved in immune response On a cellular level, he has also identified the endoplasmic reticulum as a locus integrating nutrient and stress responses and its dysfunction as an important mechanism underlying obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Dr. Hotamisligil made early observations regarding cytokine production in adipose tissue, and has used these insights to understand the mechanisms that connect cytokine action to defective insulin signaling. Recently, his group identified an important connection between nutrients, JNK activity and endoplasmic reticulum function stress through a pathogen-sensing molecule. He has
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Contact: Alex Lyda
alyda@columbia.edu
212-305-0820
Columbia University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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