Areas of Interest
We are interested in protein degradation and quality control in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). The accumulation of misfolded proteins and protein aggregates is a key determinant of many human diseases, such as various forms of diabetes, cancer, liver and lung diseases, as well as the aging process. Thus, understanding how these potentially disease-causing proteins are formed and cleared will be important for the design and development of future therapeutic strategies to prevent or treat these human diseases. Since 2007, we have been focused on the role of ER homeostasis and inflammation in human health and disease. ER is the cellular organelle where folding and maturation of secretory and membrane proteins occurs. One of the fundamental processes in the cell that deals with protein misfolding and aggregation in the ER is ER-associated degradation (ERAD). We strive to (1) investigate the physiological significance of protein misfolding and ERAD in health and disease, (2) identify the nature of endogenous proteins that are prone to misfolding, and (3) determine how ERAD works and how to target ERAD for the treatment of human diseases. Our studies have provided important insights into the pathogenesis of various diseases. The disease models that are being investigated in the laboratory include type-1 and -2 diabetes (T1D/T2D), obesity and adipose biology, hyperlipidemia and kidney disease.