Discovery Park Undergraduate Research Internship Program

"TOPRS: Metabolic control of the anti-obesity ketogenic diet"

About the Project

Project Time & Type:
Full-Year 2016 - DURI
Research area(s):
obesity, metabolism, lipid
Project Description:
The ketogenic diet currently serves as a weight loss therapy against obesity. The ketogenic diet is also shown to reduce cholesterol, a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease particularly in the large and growing obese population. Yet our basic understanding of the metabolic regulation that underlies how the ketogenic diet confers protection against obesity remains unclear. We have identified an enzyme that uniquely metabolites the ketone body acetoacetate, Acyl-CoA Synthetase Family member One (ACSF1). This enzyme is predicted to bridge ketone body metabolism to cholesterol synthesis. However, the role and regulation of ACSF1 in ketone body and cholesterol homeostasis in a physiological and tissue-dependent manner remains unexplored. The undergraduate supported by this TOPR will investigate the regulation of the ACSF1 enzyme and assist in determine how ACSF1 alters metabolite content, with the Bindley Metabolite Profiling Facility, under the direct supervision of Dr. Ellis.
Expected Student Contributions:
The undergraduate supported by this TOPR will use our newly generated ACSF1 antibody to perform Western blotting to determine the regulation of ACSF1 enzyme across tissues in lean, ketogenic diet-fed and high-fat diet-fed obese animals. In addition, the undergraduate will assist in the generation, maintenance, and unbiased metabolite profiling, through the Bindley Metabolite Profiling Facility, of ACSF1 knockout and overexpressing cultured cells under direct supervision of Dr. Ellis.
Related Website(s):
Desired Qualifications:
GPA of good standing Biochemistry course work or similar courses (such as NUTR 347)
Estimated Weekly Hours:
Department awards independent research credits for this project?
Yes, 3 credit hours

Professor in Charge

Ellis wilcox, Jessica
nutrition science

Student Supervisor

Jessica Ellis
Assistant Professor

Cooperating Faculty

Kimberly Buhman
Nutrition Science/HHS