My current research interests can be divided into two categories; first, continuation of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) research and secondly, searches for biologically active compounds from natural or dietary sources.
A. Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) Research
Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) was originally identified unexpectedly as an anti-cancer principal from ground beef in 1987. Since then, CLA has shown other biologically beneficial activities, including reducing severity of atherosclerosis, reducing the adverse effects of immune stimulation, enhancing feed efficiency, and most interestingly reducing body fat accumulation while enhancing lean body mass. As a relatively simple compound, it was quite unexpected for it to have such a variety of activities. The natural question is how CLA can achieve all of these activities.
While studying CLA’s mechanism, I found that a 19-carbon CLA cognate, conjugated nonadecadienoic acid (CNA), may have better potential to be used as an anti-obesity drug. Thus we are currently studying the efficacy of CNA on body fat regulation in both normal and obese mouse models.
Conjugated fatty acids have potential use as pharmaceuticals, for example, as anti-cancer drugs, as supplements to cancer patients to combat cachexia caused by chemotherapy, or as supplements in diabetes to increase insulin sensitivity. Moreover, with their recent availability to the public as nutritional supplements, it is important to investigate the exact mechanism of conjugated fatty acids, especially in humans. Based on my knowledge and experience with CLA, I would like to explore unanswered questions of conjugated fatty acid research.
B. Biologically Active Compounds from Natural or Dietary Sources
It is generally recommended to consume more fruit, vegetables, and nuts to reduce the incidence and severity of cardiovascular disease. Antioxidants in vegetables are believed to play an important role, but the exact mechanism as well as the active components are still unknown. My research will use tissue cell cultures as well as animal models to test vegetables, fruits, and nuts. This can be followed by identification of mechanisms and may lead to useful information in other areas.
My ultimate research goal is to explore biologically active compounds that could impact human health and improve the quality of life. Also, I am willing to explore new areas of research and expand my knowledge. I will try to combine new information with my existing knowledge to make connections between subjects in the hope that this will eventually benefit human health.