Discovery Park Undergraduate Research Internship Program

"TOPRS: Directed differentiation of adipose stem cells towards brown fat"

About the Project

Project Time & Type:
Full-Year 2016 - DURI
Research area(s):
Transdisciplinary Obesity Prevention Research Science (TOPRS)
Project Description:
Obesity has become a worldwide epidemic affecting one third of Americans. Brown fat is a type of metabolically active fat that has anti-obesity effect. However, the abundance of brown fat in the human body is scarce, especially in obese subjects. Our group has recently made the discovery that the abundance of brown fat can be increased by inhibiting the Notch signaling transduction (Bi et al, 2014, Nature Medicine). In collaboration with Dr. Meng Deng in the department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, we are now designing nanotechnology-based tools to effectively block Notch signaling transduction specifically in adipose tissues, with the goal of increasing brown fat and reducing obesity-driving white fat.
Expected Student Contributions:
The student will isolate adipose stem cells from mice, and grow them under culture conditions. The stem cells will then be induced to differentiation into brown fat cells. Molecular biology approaches will be used to confirm the gene expression of differentiated adipocytes. In addition, microscopic imaging techniques will be used to examine Notch signaling in the adipose stem cells. Finally, the metabolic activity will be measured using a state-of-the-art Seahorse XF24 Extracellular Flux Analyzer.
Related Website(s):,-type-2-diabetes-.html
Desired Qualifications:
GPA: 3.5 or higher Completed course work in cell biology, genetics, and biochemistry Prior lab experience is an asset Willing to work with animals (mice)
Estimated Weekly Hours:
Department awards independent research credits for this project?
Yes, 3 credit hours

Professor in Charge

Kuang, Shihuan
animal sciences

Student Supervisor

Feng Yue
Postdoctoral Associate

Cooperating Faculty

Meng Deng
Agriculture and Biological Engineering/Agriculture