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Student Rotation Projects in the Corvera Lab

Our lab is interested in understanding the development of metabolic tissues from mesenchymal/stem cells and the impact of this developmental process on diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease and gestational diabetes.

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Rotation projects in the Corvera lab are in the area of diabetes and obesity.  While they're highly correlated, it's still not uderstood why obesity causes disease in some humans and not others.  Amazingly, we still don’t understand how adipose tissue grows in human adults.  A better understanding of this fascinating process can give us insight into basic mechanisms of cell growth, differentiation and communication, as well as mechanisms of disease, not only diabetes but also cancer and developmental defects.  During rotation, students work on an important piece of a larger project, that has a well-defined outcome.  Successful completion of the rotation project allows them to be included on the publication.

Project 1

Role of long non-coding RNAs in adipocyte function and metabolism.  (Nat Metab. 2020 May;2(5):397-412.).  This project involves understanding the role of LINC00473 in channeling fuel to mitochondria for oxidation.  You'll learn how to grow and differentiate human adipocytes, how to visualize expressed RNA, how to measure metabolic parameters in cells overexpressing or lacking LINC00473

Project 2

What are the key signaling pathways that determine the type of adipocytes generated from mesenchymal progenitor cells?  We know that mesenchymal stem/progenitor cells can give rise to different types of cells (adipose, bone, cartilage).   What signaling or epigenetic pathways determine this cell fate? You'll learn cell culture, FACS, RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry.  

Other projects are available to discuss

Email Silvia.Corvera@umassmed.edu