Post-doctoral Fellowship –University of California, Berkeley, CA
Ph.D.–Rutgers University, NJ, 1999
M.S.–Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea
B.S.-Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea
Member, American Society for Nutrition (ASN)
Member, Institute of Food Technologists (IFT)
Obesity is a global health problem. Obesity contributes to the increased prevalence of other chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes and coronary heart diseases, which are the leading causes of mortality and morbidity in the U.S. Activation of adipocyte differentiation (adipogenesis) and inflammatory response of adipose tissue has been known to contribute to the development of obesity, and obesity-associated chronic diseases. Despite having continuous attention on dietary phytochemicals as rich therapeutic/preventive sources for many diseases, a few such compounds are known to have anti-obese property. In an effort to develop dietary strategies to prevent the generation of adipose tissue and its associated pathogenesis, we employ molecular and biochemical studies utilizing cultured mammalian cells and animal model of obesity to study the following projects.
- Dietary regulation of development of adipose tissue and its function:
Curcumin has recently been proposed to have anti-cancer and anti-obesity properties. Our lab conducts mechanistic studies on understanding the mechanism of curcumin-regulated adipose development and function. The efficacy of natural form of curcumin and water-soluble curcumin in improving bioavailability and physiological function both in vitro and in vivo has also been studied. We are also interested in elucidating potential anti-obesity function of piceatannol, a metabolite of resveratrol found in red wine, and its cellular target in adipocytes.
- Dietary control of cellular stress signaling pathway and its associated adipose dysfunction:
A micronutrient selenium exists in various forms with different biological activities. Although selenium is known to exhibit a beneficial function in cancerous cells, its role in metabolically active tissues such as adipose tissue and liver is unknown. Our goal is to elucidate the beneficial function of selenium in adipose development and function. In particular, we are interested in testing the anti-adipogenic function of selenium and its role in selenoprotein-regulated endoplasmic reticulum stress signaling pathway in adipocytes.
- Adipose tissue, aging and cellular senescence:
Adipose tissue dysfunction has been shown to be associated with aging. This includes dysregulated inflammation, tissue remodeling, senescence-like phenotype in preadipocytes and adipocytes. However, the molecular basis underlying aging-induced adipocytes dysfunction is unknown. Furthermore, dietary modulation of cellular senescence in adipocytes has not yet been elucidated. Advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) are generated in the late stage of Maillard reaction during food processing (e.g., frying, roasting or cooking). Both food-driven (exogenous) and biological-driven (endogenous) AGEs are known to play a detrimental role in human health. Evidence suggests that elevated levels of intracellular and extracellular AGEs, and activation of receptors for AGEs (RAGE), collectively termed AGE-RAGE axis, are associated with the development of aging and its-related diseases. In line with this, our group is interested in elucidating the molecular link between aging and adipose dysfunction, and the biological function of AGE-RAGE axis in adipose biology.