Vitamin A Metabolism in Adipose Biology

Summer 2016

Milena Tintcheva : Molecular Environmental Biology

Mentor: Dr. Joseph Napoli

In the Napoli Lab we study metabolism of Vitamin A, specifically the active metabolite all-trans Retinoic Acid and its role in adipose tissue biology. Retinoic Acid is an important factor for embryonic development, eye health, adipogenesis (fat cell development) and myogenesis (muscle differentiation) as well as the activation of many other genes. My project focuses on the activity and regulation of the enzymes involved in retinoic acid biosynthesis, specifically Retinol dehydrogenase 10 (Rdh10) which is responsible for the initial step, and how it influences the ability of adult stem cells to differentiate into adipocytes. Our hypothesis is that Rdh10 is critical for retinoic acid synthesis and therefore normal adipose tissue development in mice. To test this hypothesis we will isolate stem cells from adipose tissue from wild type and Rdh10 knockout mice and investigate their differentiation capability. Better understanding enzymes, such as Rdh10, creates opportunities for targeting genes for therapeutic purposes to treat obesity, age related muscle wasting and atrophy from disuse.

Thank you, Rose Hills Foundation, for providing me with this incredible opportunity as an aspiring researcher. Through your support I can contribute to the growing body of research in metabolism and I have a chance to gain new insights into the field of biology as a lab team member. I am incredibly grateful that programs and research labs are so dedicated to fund and work with young, inexperienced students because it makes a huge difference in the quality of education. Thank you, to Dr. Marta Vuckovic and everyone in the Napoli Lab for the mentorship and support.