SURF Faculty Mentors

Jun Hee Lee

Associate Professor, Molecular & Integrative Physiology
Research Associate Professor, Gerontology

Dr. Lee focuses on diverse physiologies including growth, development and aging that are controlled by signal transduction networks. Recently, our research has revealed that Sestrin, a stress-inducible protein, is a feedback inhibitor of mTOR signaling, and that loss of Sestrin can cause various chronic mTOR-associated pathologies, such as fat accumulation, mitochondrial dysfunction, cardiac arrhythmia and muscle degeneration. These phenotypes are quite similar to those associated with obesity, aging and lack of exercise, which are currently some of the major public health issues facing our society. We expect that further research on mammalian Sestrin-family proteins may provide a novel way to attenuate aging and prevent or treat age-associated diseases in humans.

Malcolm Low

Malcolm Low

Professor, Molecular & Integrative Physiology
Professor, Internal Medicine

Dr. Low is Professor of the Departments of Molecular & Integrative Physiology and Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School. He is also an Investigator of the Brehm Center for Diabetes Research. Research in his lab is focused on determining how the hypothalamus integrates environmental and interoceptive sensory information to maintain neuroendocrine homeostasis and energy balance. He is an internationally recognized expert in the generation and analysis of mutant mouse models and currently uses a combination of molecular genetic, endocrine, and behavioral approaches to characterize the physiological functions of neuropeptides and G-protein coupled receptors that are highly expressed in hypothalamic neural circuits, particularly proopiomelanocortin (POMC), MC4-receptor, enkephalin, dynorphin, mu-opioid receptor, corticotropin releasing hormone, somatostatin, dopamine, and dopamine D2-like receptors. POMC neurons play a critical role in the regulation of appetite and metabolism and dysfunction in their associated neural circuits can produce morbid obesity. A current major project in the Low lab is to dissect the functional significance of the recently discovered neuronal enhancers in POMC using targeted deletions of individual or multiple enhancer sequences in mutant mice.

Dr. Low is NOT accepting summer fellows for 2022.

Costas A. Lyssiotis

Maisel Research Professor, Oncology
Associate Professor, Molecular & Integrative Physiology
Associate Professor, Internal Medicine

Dr. Costas is Associate Professor of Molecular & Integrative Physiology. His lab studies the biochemical pathways and metabolic requirements that enable tumor survival and growth and, in particular, how this information can be used to design targeted therapies. Among his many contributions, Dr. Lyssiotis demonstrated that pancreatic cancers are addicted to glucose and glutamine and use these nutrients in previously undescribed pathways to make DNA and to generate free radical-combating antioxidants, respectively.

Ormond MacDougald

Ormond MacDougald

John A. Faulkner Collegiate Professor of Molecular & Integrative Physiology
Professor, Internal Medicine

Dr. MacDougald is the John A. Faulkner Collegiate Professor of Physiology within the Molecular & Integrative Physiology department. To combat the rising incidence of obesity and associated metabolic diseases, the goal of his lab is to investigate how adipocytes throughout the body develop, function, and interact with other cell types near and afar.

Daniel Michele

Professor, Molecular & Integrative Physiology
Professor, Internal Medicine

Dr. Michele is Professor of Molecular & Integrative Physiology at the University of Michigan Medical School. Dr. Michele's laboratory is interested in the molecular mechanisms of human diseases of skeletal and cardiac muscle. Currently, we are focused on the mechanisms of muscular dystrophy associated with mutations in the transmembrane dystrophin-glycoprotein complex and abnormal glycosylation of the central protein in this complex, dystroglycan. The cellular mechanisms of dystroglycan modification and the resulting pathways leading to muscular dystrophy and cardiomyopathy are currently unclear. We are exploring these pathways using spontaneous mutant, traditional and conditional targeted mouse models as well as human patient samples.

Subramaniam Pennathur

Norman Radin Professor, Nephrology
Division of Nephrology Chief
Michigan Kidney Translational Research Center Director
Professor, Internal Medicine
Associate Professor, Molecular & Integrative Physiology

Dr. Pennathur is the Professor of NephrologyDepartment of Medicine and Molecular and Integrative Physiology. He also directs the NIDDK funded Michigan Kidney Translational Research Center. His laboratory has a long-standing interest in understanding the chemistry and biochemistry of metabolic changes that underlie obesity, diabetes and its complications, including diabetic kidney disease and cardiovascular disease. The lab utilizes mass spectrometric methods to study lipoprotein biology, oxidant injury mechanisms (oxidative stress marker discovery and quantitation), lipid inflammatory mediators, metabolomics, and lipidomics in animal models and humans with diabetic complications and inflammatory disorders. Employing metabolomic and lipidomic profiling, data analysis, and bioinformatics to interrogate model systems, his laboratory has identified disease specific nodes for intervention in variety of metabolic diseases. These studies utilize systems and integrative biology of combining multi-omic data sets, which can provide ideal training opportunities for students interested in quantitative sciences.

William Rainey

William (Bill) Rainey

Jerome W. Conn Professor, Molecular & Integrative Physiology and Internal Medicine

Dr. William (Bill) Rainey is the Jerome Conn Professor in the Departments of Molecular and Integrative Physiology and Internal Medicine. Dr. Rainey’s group is recognized for its research on the adrenal gland, specializing on adrenal zonation, steroid production and tumor development. The lab group includes post-graduate clinician and basic scientists as well as graduate and undergraduate students. Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows (SURFs) would join ongoing research projects that are applying genomic and metabolomic approaches toward defining the mechanisms controlling normal and pathologic adrenal function.

Liangyou Rui

Liangyou Rui

Professor, Molecular & Integrative Physiology

Dr. Rui is Professor of Molecular & Integrative Physiology. His laboratory studies the physiological and molecular mechanisms of obesity, fatty liver, and type 2 diabetes, using genetic, physiological, molecular and biochemical approaches. Obesity is the primary risk factor for fatty liver diseases and type 2 diabetes and type 2 diabetes is caused by defects in both insulin production and insulin action (e.g. insulin resistance in the liver, muscle, fat and brain). Ongoing areas of study in the Rui laboratory include: (1) examination of the signal transduction pathways in hypothalamic neurons that regulate energy homeostasis and body weight, (2) investigating molecular defects in hypothalamic neural circuits that cause leptin resistance, energy imbalance and obesity, 3) studying glucose and lipid metabolism under both normal and obese conditions and focusing on the hepatic gluconeogenic and lipogenic programs as well as on the molecular mechanisms of insulin resistance in liver, adipose tissue and muscle.

Dr. Rui is NOT accepting summer fellows for 2022.

Yatrik Shah

Yatrik Shah

Horace W Davenport Collegiate Professor, Physiology
Professor, Molecular & Integrative Physiology
Professor, Internal Medicine

Dr. Shah is Horace W Davenport Collegiate Professor of Molecular & Integrative Physiology at the University of Michigan Medical School. Dr. Shah's laboratory seeks to understand the mechanisms by which cellular oxygen levels regulate colon and liver cancer. Regulation of hypoxia-mediated genes is dependent on the nuclear transcription factor, hypoxia inducible factor (HIF). HIF signaling is critical in the adaptive response to low oxygen levels by activating genes involved in metabolism, angiogenesis, cell proliferation and cell survival. We have developed novel animal models to study accurately the role of hypoxia and HIF in the liver and intestine-derived cancers. In these animal models we have shown that increased HIF signaling leads to liver and intestinal inflammation and chronic induction of HIF signaling leads to vascularized tumors. Our current goals are to identify molecular mechanisms by which HIF regulates colon and liver inflammation and assess if HIF signaling is a critical link between inflammation and cancer.

Xin Tong, MD, PhD

Xin Tong

Research Associate Professor, Molecular & Integrative Physiology

My research interest is in studying posttranslational modifications of transcription factors in glucose and lipid metabolism. A combination of genetic, molecular and biochemical approaches is employed to elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying the posttranslational modifications as well as the physiological consequences on glucose and lipid homeostasis. 

Yin

Lei Yin

Associate Professor, Molecular & Integrative Physiology
Associate Professor, Molecular & Internal Medicine

The Yin laboratory largely focuses on understanding the molecular regulation of circadian rhythms in mammalian system.  The core clock proteins are the driving forces to generate and maintain the 24h circadian rhythms.  Post-translational modifications of those core clock proteins play important function in determining the basic features of a circadian cycle, including period length, amplitude and phase response.  Our lab is currently studying the role of ubiquitination in regulation of circadian oscillation of the core circadian clock proteins.  One of our long-term goals is to identify the unique E3 ligase and de-ubiquitin specific protease (USP) for individual clock protein and determine their circadian functions in vivo.