CENTER OF BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH EXCELLENCE (COBRE)

MISSION

The mission of the Pennington Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) is to expand the critical mass of scientists in Louisiana focused on advancing our understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms of metabolic disease.

The Pennington Biomedical COBRE is accomplishing its goal by (1) fostering a collaborative and interactive research environment that places strong emphasis on mentoring and developing the young scientists who will power the discovery process, and (2) providing our young scientists with the cutting-edge technology that is needed to make fundamental discoveries of the underlying mechanisms of metabolic disease. Nearly two-thirds of the U.S. population is either clinically overweight or obese, and 8% of the population has adult-onset diabetes. Obesity and diabetes are central elements of a cluster of pathologies collectively referred to as “metabolic syndrome.”

The COBRE is leading an effort to enhance research on metabolic disease by recruiting accomplished senior investigators and promising young scientists who will be mentored to independence by Pennington Biomedical investigators. The COBRE supports five projects from outstanding junior faculty who are employing a combination of cellular, molecular, and translational approaches to address questions ranging from neural mechanisms of glucose sensing and energy homeostasis, to inflammatory mechanisms linked to adipogenesis, to epigenetic programming in obesity, to regulation of mitochondrial biogenesis in adipocytes. Using in vivo, ex vivo and in vitro techniques, each project is pursuing fundamental questions critical to regulation of energy homeostasis and the associated pathologies of metabolic disease linked to the expansion of adipose tissue mass during the development of obesity.

The specific aims of the Pennington Biomedical COBRE in its second five years are to further expand the critical mass of productive investigators engaged in obesity/diabetes research by (a) developing and retaining outstanding junior faculty from within the institution and mentoring them to sustainable independent funding, (b) recruiting outstanding junior and senior faculty engaged in metabolic disease research that complements existing trengths of Center investigators, (c) developing and fostering new opportunities for collaborative interactions with institutional colleagues engaged in clinical/translational research, and (d) enhancing utilization of the outstanding research infrastructure that we have developed during the first five years of the COBRE. Our goal during the next five years is to build upon our many ongoing successes as we continue to support the iscovery of solutions to the expanding national health problem of metabolic disease.

Thomas Gettys, PhD
Director

Key Personnel:

  • David Burk, PhD
  • Ji Suk Chang, PhD
  • Zhanguo Gao, PhD
  • David McDougal, PhD
  • Robert C. Noland, PhD
  • Michael Salbaum, PhD
  • Mark Sarzynski, PhD

The Pennington Biomedical COBRE is supported by a grant from the National Center of Research Resources at the National Institutes of Health.