EDUCATION1988-1992 Ph.D. Student, East Carolina University School of Medicine, Greenville, NC
1992-1993 Post-doctorate, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA
1993-1996 Post-doctoral fellow of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation at Boston University Medical Center, Boston, MA
RESEARCH INTERESTSThe largest running project in the laboratory focuses on STAT proteins. These proteins are signaling molecules and transcription factors, which means they control the gene expression in a tissue specific manner. Our laboratory studies the activation and function of STAT proteins in adipocytes. We study adipocytes because this cell type has several functions and if any one of these function is disrupted than Type 2 Diabetes can develop. To date, one of our most important observations is that STAT5 can confer adipogenesis both in vitro and in vivo. Also, we have also identified STAT5 target genes in adipocytes. These genes play a role in insulin action, lipid metabolism and the endocrine properties of fat cells. All of our studies demonstrate that STAT5 is an important transcription factor in adipocyte and can regulate genes associated with Type 2 Diabetes. To further understand the biology of this multifunctional protein, we are identifying other proteins that associate with STAT5. We also participate in the Botanical Research Center at PBRC and have other small projects on gp130 cytokines and other hormones produced in fat cells.
SELECTED PUBLICATIONSRichard A.J., Burris, T.P., Sanchez-Infantes, D., Ribnicky, D.M. and Stephens, J. M. (2014) Artemisia extracts activate PPAR?, promote adipogenesis, and enhance insulin sensitivity in adipose tissue of DIO mice. Nutrition, in press.
Zhao, P., Elks, C.M and Stephens, J. M. (2014) The induction of lipocalin-2 expression in vivo and in vitro. J. Biol. Chem. 289:5960-5969. PMCID: PMC3937664
Sanchez-Infantes, D. White, U.A, Elks, C.M., Morrison, R.F., Gimble, J.M. Considine, R.V., Ferrante, A.W. Ravussin, E. and Stephens, J. M. (2014) Oncostatin M is produced in adipose tissue and is regulated in conditions of obesity and Type 2 Diabetes. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 99:E217-E225. PMCID: PMC3913819
Richard A.J. and Stephens, J. M. (2014) The role of JAK-STAT pathway in adipose tissue function. Biochim Biophys Acta, 1842:431-439. ^ top