My research interests center on lipid metabolism and signaling pathways in brown and white adipocytes, in search of novel metabolic targets to prevent and/or treat obesity and insulin resistance. We are investigating the molecular mechanism by which dietary bioactive molecules (e.g., omega-3 fatty acids, tocotrienol, red raspberry polyphenols and there gut metabolites) suppress adipose tissue inflammation and promote brown thermogenesis. The ultimate goal of her research is to establish safe and effective dietary intervention strategies for attenuating the metabolic diseases, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis and cancer.
Currently, our main research projects are to understand the relationship between brown fat development and diet, which alters the prevalence of obesity and cancer survival. Our NICHD funded project is to investigate the impact of maternal fish oil intake on fetal brown adipose tissue development and metabolic imprinting. In this project, we examine the role of maternal nutrition on prenatal brown fat development by regulating microRNAs and histone acetylation. Our USDA-NIFA funded project to investigate the role of red raspberry polyphenols and their gut metabolites on regulating adipose tissue inflammation and insulin sensitivity. By using the diet-induced obese animal models and germ-free mice, we are currently investigating the role of red raspberry polyphenols and their gut metabolites in controlling the innate immunity such as NLRP3 inflammasome activation and adipocyte stemness. As a extension of brown fat study, our EPSCoR grant allows us to investigate the underlying mechanism of cachectic fat loss in the advanced cancer patients. We are trying to understand the cancer cachexia as the transcriptional and metabolic reprogramming of adipose tissue by activin A.
B.S. Seoul National University, Korea, 1992
Ph.D. Univeristy of North Carolina, 2006
Postdoctoral training. Wake Forest Medical Center (2006-2010)