Krystle Kalafut (G6, Manning Lab)

Where are you from and what do you enjoy most about your hometown?

I am from a small suburb outside Youngstown, OH, a prior hub of the steel industry halfway between Pittsburgh, PA and Cleveland (aka “Steel Valley”). The slower pace of life in my hometown is a nice reprieve from the city. I really enjoy lounging in my parent’s open back yard with my dog and the chance to catch up with family and friends.

What is your research focused on?

My research is focused on understanding the regulation and function of mTORC1 signaling in the liver. The liver plays a central role in stabilizing systemic metabolism by processing nutrients for storage or export to other tissues during energy stress. mTORC1 is a central nutrient-sensing signaling node that controls cellular growth and metabolism, and we are investigating which physiological signals to the liver regulate mTORC1, with a particular focus on the hormone insulin, and how this impacts metabolic health.

What is your favorite part of your research?

I like studying mTORC1 signaling because it is implicated in so many human diseases ranging from cancer, aging, and obesity and diabetes. This has enabled me to learn about many research areas, which will be helpful as I begin to think about taking the next steps in my career. I am also grateful that my project has afforded me the opportunity to learn and apply in vivo physiology with more mechanistic cell biology and biochemistry techniques.

How do you relax when you’re not working?

When I am not working, I like to take advantage of the beautiful green spaces near Jamaica Plain, like the arboretum or Jamaica Pond, with my husband and dog. I relieve stress by exercising, baking (and eating) delicious treats, and relaxing with my two cats at home.