Research Highlights

In the Huss Lab, we investigate mechanisms governing mitochondrial energy metabolism and growth of skeletal muscle in health and in disease.
 
The ability of skeletal muscle to prevent the development of obesity and insulin resistance depends upon its oxidative capacity and its overall mass. While cells’ ATP-generating capacity and selection of fats or glucose to generate energy are largely determined by their mitochondria, regulation of substrate uptake also plays a role. Understanding these molecular mechanisms will advance our knowledge of the causes of metabolic dysregulation in obesity, diabetes, heart failure and aging.
 
We delve into how the estrogen-related receptor (ERR) group of nuclear receptors regulate energy metabolism and muscle contraction. These factors are essential for directing the metabolic enhancements caused by endurance exercise. We currently are exploring whether targeting ERR genetically could prevent diet-induced obesity or reiterate the beneficial effects of exercise on whole-body glucose control.
 
Our approach combines elements from research in biochemistry, metabolism, molecular mechanisms, histochemistry and genetics. We use a variety of methods and tools to examine the results of deletion or activation of ERR at the cellular level, in laboratory models and in comparative studies.