We are broadly interested in endocrine and neuroendocrine tissue development. We study the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH), which controls metablism and reproduction. Using mouse genetics, pharmacogenetics and functional imaging, we ask how estrogen-responsive neurons in the VMH control physical activity and adaptive thermogenesis in females.
Ongoing research focuses on NR5A nuclear receptors, SF-1 and LRH-1 because of their critical roles in metabolism. We find that the signaling phospholipid PIP3 is the highest affinity ligand for NR5As. Efforts are underway to find synthetic ligands for use in the intestine and liver. NR5A receptors are highly sumoylated. We are asking how this PTM affect the in vivo function of these NRs in liver.