Diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease are among a group of devastating, common disorders of metabolism that afflict millions of people. The Broad's Metabolism Program strives to advance knowledge of these illnesses and accelerate the development of new therapies and disease-prevention strategies.
Scientists in the Metabolism Program share ideas and launch collaborative projects to tackle key challenges. The program works closely with scientists in the Proteomics and Metabolite Profiling Platforms. In addition, it collaborates with many other labs in the Harvard-MIT community and elsewhere.
Major areas of focus include:
Genomics provides powerful new tools for understanding the molecular basis of metabolic disease. These include large-scale genotyping to identify genetic variants that contribute to susceptibility to metabolic diseases and comprehensive gene expression analysis to identify key cellular pathways. For example, recent studies using both types of tools have implicated defects in mitochondrial energy metabolism as an early step in the development of diabetes.
High-throughput chemical screening is used to identify small molecules that perturb key metabolic circuits.
Several in vitro and in vivo systems are used as models to discover and characterize new pathways involved in fat cell development, atherosclerosis, insulin signaling, and aging.
Members of the Metabolism Program are working with the Proteomics and Metabolite Profiling Platforms to develop a mass spectrometry-based technology for metabolic profiling. Using this technology, scientists are dissecting metabolic pathways in cultured cells and discovering novel biomarkers for cardiovascular disease and for inborn errors of metabolism.