Jun Wu, PhD

Assistant Professor, Molecular & Integrative Physiology
Research Assistant Professor, Life Sciences Institute

LSI, 5115A
210 Washtenaw Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109



Dr. Wu joined the Department of Molecular & Integrative Physiology in 2013. She is currently a research assistant professor of Life Sciences Institute (LSI), a member of the Cellular & Molecular Biology Program (CMB), Program in Biomedical Sciences (PIBS) and Center for Organogenesis.

She received her Bachelor of Science in Biology from University of Science and Technology of China and then her Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry from the University of Michigan, respectively. After her Ph.D, Jun subsequently worked with Bruce Spiegelman at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School as a postdoctoral fellow and instructor.

Areas of Interest

Dr. Wu’s interests are currently focused in three areas: 

Project #1. Identification and characterization of transcriptional regulator(s) of beige fat cells. This study explores the hypothesis that beige fat cells possess a distinct regulatory program, consistent with their unique role being “inducible-brown” fat cells. Both microarray analysis and a q-PCR screen using primers specific to transcriptional components (Quantrxx) have been conducted with the total RNA isolated from fully differentiated clonal brown, beige and white adipose cell lines. Multiple potential beige cell regulators have been identified and their functions are currently being tested in vitro via retroviral gain/loss of function in our immortalized cells and via adenoviral in primary Stromal Vascular Fraction (SVF) cells isolated from the murine inguinal subcutaneous fat depot. Potential hits will be further tested in vivo in transgenic mouse models.

Project #2. Beige fat cell fate determination factors and the developmental origin of beige precursors. Similar to Project #1, array and Quantrxx will be conducted with total RNA isolated from preadipocytes of brown, beige and white clonal lines. in vitro gain/loss of function using retroviral and adenoviral systems will be used to test the potential candidates. We identified a panel of beige-selective markers in our previous study and the expression level of these markers will be tested as a readout for the beige cell identity. Functional analysis of responses to cAMP will be used as a secondary screen.

Project #3. The metabolic roles of human beige fat cells. We have successfully established the protocol to culture and differentiate human Adipose Stem Cells (ASC). Primary beige precursors will be isolated from enzymatically dissociated human adipose tissue biopsies by FACS using beige-selective cell surface markers identified in our previous studies. Besides the SVF isolated from the supraclavicular region, where UCP1+ adipocytes are most prominent according to 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose PET/CT scans, other subcutaneous white adipose depots will also be investigated. The abundance and the function of beige precursors and adipocytes in human subjects with various metabolic profiles will be investigated.

Honors & Awards

2012: NIH, NIDDK K01 mentored research scientist development award
2012: American Heart Association, Scientist Development Grant
2011: Keystone Symposia, type 2 Diabetes, Insulin Resistance and Metabolism Dysfunction, Scholarship
2009-2011: American Heart Association, Postdoctoral fellowship


B.S., University of Science & Technology of China, 2001
Ph.D., University of Michigan, 2007

Published Articles or Reviews

van der Lans AA, Hoeks J, Brans B, Vijgen GH, Visser MG, Vosselman MJ, Hansen J, Jorgensen JA, Wu J, Mottaghy F, Schrauwen P and van Marken Lichtenbelt WD. (2013) Cold acclimation recruits human brown fat and increases nonshivering thermogenesis. J Clin Invest. 123(8):3395-403. PMID: 23867626.

Ye L, Wu J, Cohen P, Kazak L, Khandekar MJ, Jedrychowski MP, Zeng X, Gygi SP and Spiegelman BM. Fat cells directly sense temperature to activate thermogenesis. (2013). Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 110(30): 12480-5. PMID: 23818608.

Rajakumari S*, Wu J*, Ishibashi J, Hee-Woong L, Giang AH, Won KJ, Reed RR and Seale P. (2013) EBF2 determines and maintains brown adipocyte identity. Cell Metab. 17(4):562-74. PMID: 23499423.  *These authors contributed equally to the work. 

Ye L, Kleiner S, Wu J, Sah R, Gupta RK, Banks AS, Cohen P, Khandekar, MJ, Boström P, Mepani R, Laznik D, Kamenecka TM, Song X, Liedtke W, Mootha VK, Puigserver, P, Griffin PR, Clapham D and Spiegelman BM. (2012) TRPV4 is a regulator of adipose oxidative metabolism, inflammation and energy homeostasis.  Cell. 151(1):96-110. PMID: 23021218.

Wu J, Boström P, Sparks LM, Ye L, Choi JH, Giang AH, Khandekar M, Virtanen KA, Nuutila P, Schaart G, Huang K, Tu H, van Marken Lichtenbelt WD, Hoeks J, Enerbäck S, Schrauwen P and Spiegelman BM. (2012) Beige adipocytes are a distinct type of thermogenic fat cell in mouse and human.  Cell. 150(2):366-76. PMID: 22796012.

Fisher FM, Kleiner S, Douris N, Fox EC, Mepani R, Verdeguer F, Wu J, Kharitonenkov A, Flier JS, Maratos-Flier E, and Spiegelman BM. (2012) FGF21 regulates PGC-1alpha and browning of white adipose tissues in adaptive thermogenesis.  Genes Dev. 26(3):271-81. PMID: 22302939.

Boström P, Wu J, Jedrychowski MP, Korde A, Ye L, Lo JC, Rasbach KA, Boström EA, Choi JH, Long JZ, Kajimura S, Zingaretti, MC, Vind BF, Tu H, Cinti S, Hojlund K, Gygi SP and Spiegelman BM.(2012) A PGC1-alpha-dependent myokine that drives brown-fatlike development of white fat and thermogenesis. Nature. 481 (7382):463-8. PMID: 22237023.

Wu J, Ruas JL, Estall JL, Rasbach KA, Choi JH, Ye L, Boström P, Tyra HM, Crawford RW, Campbell KP, Rutkowski DT, Kaufman RJ, Spiegelman BM. (2011) The unfolded protein response mediates adaptation to exercise in skeletal muscle through a protein complex of PGC-1alpha/ATF6alpha.  Cell Metab. 13(2):160-9. PMCID: PMC3057411.

Boström P, Mann N, Wu J, Quintero PA, Plovie ER, Panakova D, Gupta R, Xiao C, MacRae CA, Rosenzweig A, Spiegelman B. (2010) C/EBPbeta controls exercise-induced cardiac growth and protects against pathological cardiac remodeling.  Cell. 143(7):1072-83. PMCID: PMC3035164.

Rutkowski DT*, Wu J*, Back SH, Callaghan MU, Ferris SP, Iqbal J, Clark R, Miao H, Hassler JR, Fornek J, Katze MG, Hussain MM, Song B, Swathirajan J, Wang J, Yau GD, Kaufman RJ. (2008) UPR pathways combine to prevent hepatic steatosis caused by ER stress-mediated suppression of transcriptional master regulators.  Dev Cell. 15(6):829-840. PMCID: PMC2923556. *These authors contributed equally to the work. 

Sakaki K, Wu J, Kaufman RJ. (2008) Protein kinase C-theta is required for autophagy in response to stress in the endoplasmic reticulum.  J Biol Chem. 283(22):15370-15380. PMCID: PMC2397484.

Wu J*, Rutkowski DT*, Dubois M, Swathirajan J, Saunders T, Wang J, Song B, Yau GD, Kaufman RJ. (2007) ATF6alpha optimizes long-term endoplasmic reticulum function to protect cells from chronic stress. Dev Cell. 13(3):351-364. *These authors contributed equally to the work.

Rutkowski DT, Arnold SM, Miller CN, Wu J, Li J, Gunnison KM, Mori K, Sadighi Akha AA, Raden D, Kaufman RJ. (2006) Adaptation to ER Stress is mediated by differential stabilities of pro-survival

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