In the Lei Jiang Lab, we aim to elucidate the molecular mechanisms regulating nutrient homeostasis in metabolic diseases such as diabetes and cancer. Our tools for this endeavor include innovative mass spectrometry-based metabolic tracing and systemic bioengineering. These methods provide a new angle for understanding how diabetes, cancer and other diseases rewire metabolism.
Compartmentation is a key concept in our work. We are interested in both cellular compartmentation — metabolic reactions distributed in space and time — as well as the layer of compartmentation that encompasses metabolic communication between a wide variety of cell types in the adipose tissue of patients with diabetes and the tumors of patients with cancer. We study how metabolites such as citrate and serine serve as signal molecules between cells and within the subcellular structure. Our lab also is delving deeper to examine the signaling between organelles inside cells.