Chewing the fat: characterisation of protein-protein interactions regulating lipid metabolism

Research Opportunity
PhD students, Honours students, Master of Biomedical Science
Number of Honour Places Available
Number of Master Places Available
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Prof Matthew Watt Personal web page
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
Dr Stacey Keenan

Summary Our innovative research program seeks to identify how defects of lipid metabolism and inter-tissue communication cause obesity-related disorders, including type 2 diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). We use this information to discover novel targets that can be transitioned to clinical therapeutics. Our research themes are: 1. Understanding how insulin resistance develops in obesity. 2. Understanding how proteins that are secreted by NAFLD / non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) liver affect metabolism and contributes to the development of type 2 diabetes. 3. Regulation of lipid metabolism: identifying novel proteins that control lipid metabolism and how they are altered in metabolic diseases (e.g. diabetes, cancer).

Project Details

Defective lipid (fat) metabolism is associated with the development of many diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and fatty liver disease. Lipids are contained within specialised organelles called 'lipid droplets' and are required for survival. It is known that proteins located on the surface of lipid droplets can regulate lipid synthesis and lipid breakdown. We have recently discovered several novel proteins at the surface of the lipid droplet and the aim of this project is to determine their role in regulating metabolism. This will be achieved by using state-of-the-art protein labelling techniques, confocal microscopy to assess protein-protein interactions and detailed assessment of metabolism. Targeting lipid droplet proteins will provide insight into new treatment strategies for metabolic disease. 

Research Opportunities

PhD students, Honours students, Master of Biomedical Science
Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

Graduate Research application

Honours application

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.

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