Training Program in Molecular Metabolism (MMTP)

Various Lab Action shots

OVERVIEW:

Housed in the Department of Molecular Metabolism at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the Training Program in Molecular Metabolism (MMTP) enlists faculty from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Harvard Medical School to provide didactic and research opportunities to predoctoral students interested in a research career in molecular metabolism. The program prepares trainees to apply cutting edge multi-omic, genetic, and physiological methods to advance our understanding of areas including metabolic health and diseases such as diabetes; gastrointestinal health, such as the role of the microbiome; inflammatory and immune effects on health; obesity; and the role of factors such as aging or disease state on metabolic processes.

Students enrolled in the Ph.D. in Biological Sciences in Public Health (BPH) program will be considered for participation in MMTP. Information regarding the BPH Program can be found here: https://gsas.harvard.edu/programs-of-study/all/biological-sciences-public-health

MMTP Trainee:

Krystle Kalafut standing in the HMS QuadKrystle Kalafut

Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology with minors in Chemistry and Fitness from University of Pittsburgh (2015)

Krystle is interested in understanding how our bodies adapt to changes in nutrient availability in response to fasting and feeding and alterations in diet composition. In the Manning lab, she is focused on defining the regulation of the mTORC1 growth signaling pathway in the liver during fasting and feeding in mice. Her work has important implications for metabolic disease, cancer, and aging.

Prior to graduate school, Krystle conducted research as a postbaccalaureate fellow at the National Institute on Aging and wrote an honors thesis as a result of her undergraduate research.  She also completed a year of service with AmeriCorps in her home state of Ohio, during which she served as a community health educator in the areas of diabetes prevention and nutrition. Krystle is passionate about translating basic research findings to improved public health outcomes, and she is involved in STEM outreach and is interested in science policy and writing.

Sam LappSamuel Lapp

Bachelor’s of Science in Cell and Molecular Biology with a minor in Architecture from Tulane University (2018)
Master’s of Science in Kinesiology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2020)

Samuel focuses on discovering the mechanisms behind how time-restricted feeding improves metabolic health with an emphasis on the role of AMPK and substrate utilization.

He graduated Cum Laude from Tulane and from 2016-2017, Samuel Lapp conducted research at the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab in Chicago studying skeletal muscle physiology in children with cerebral palsy (Lieber Lab).  His master’s thesis was in the Boppart Lab, titled “Optimization of a Pericyte Therapy to Improve Muscle Recovery Following Hindlimb Immobilization”.

Brenden Zeqiu Wang

Branden Zeqiu Wang

Master of Science in Human Nutrition from Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons (2020)

Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from the University of Washington (2017)

Branden aims to understand the molecular mechanism of how obesity contributes to the development of metabolic disease by studying the crosstalk between adipose tissue and the liver. In the Hotamışlıgil Lab, he is currently interested in understanding the role of fatty acid-binding protein 4 (FABP4) pool that is in the signal containing extracellular vesicles derived from the adipose tissue (Ad-Exos). Elucidating the role of hormonal FABP4 within Ad-Exo and related mechanisms of the crosstalk between the adipose tissue and the liver may be a critical step for understanding, and eventually resolving, obesity-induced metabolic disorders.

During his Master’s degree, Branden worked under Dr. Qiang’s mentorship at Columbia University. He received an honor thesis award for studying the myogenic determination protein 1 and myogenic factor 6 overexpression in mice models. Before relocating to the east coast, he received a Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry from the University of Washington. In addition to his scientific activity, Branden has 300 hours + of volunteering experience in the hospital setting and wishes to continue serving the community by translating scientific findings to the public.

outside 2016 department retreat

MMTP DIRECTORS:

Chih-Hao LeeChih-Hao Lee, Ph.D.

Professor of Molecular Metabolism
Faculty Affiliate in the Department of Nutrition
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Focuses on understanding mitochondrial dynamics and metabolic homeostasis; effect of immune signaling on metabolic adaptation to endurance training and over-nutrition.

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/chihhao-lee/

 

 

Sudha BiddingerSudha Biddinger, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Harvard Medical School
Boston Children’s Hospital
Associate Professor in the Department of Molecular Metabolism
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Focus on understanding how lipogenesis is triggered in the insulin-resistant state; the role of proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) in diabetes.

https://connects.catalyst.harvard.edu/Profiles/display/Person/30232

 

Gökhan HotamışlıgilGökhan S. Hotamışlıgil, M.D., Ph.D.

James Stevens Simmons Professor of Genetics and Metabolism
Director, Sabri Ülker Center for Nutrient, Genetic and Metabolic Research
Department of Molecular Metabolism
Department of Nutrition

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Associate Member, Broad Institute
Associate Member, Harvard Stem Cell Institute

Focus on chronic metabolic diseases (i.e., obesity, diabetes, fatty liver disease, and atherosclerosis), with a particular interest in the integration of immune and metabolic responses, organelle homeostasis, and lipid metabolism and signaling.

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/gokhan-hotamisligil/

 

Inside 2016 department retreat

MMTP PRECEPTORS:

Barbara Burleigh, PhD, Professor of Immunology & Infectious Disease, Departments of Immunology & Infectious Diseases and of Molecular Metabolism, HSPH. Effect of the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi (the cause of Chagas’ disease) on human metabolism. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/barbara-burleigh/ 

Edward T. Chouchani, PhD, Assistant Professor of Cancer Biology, Dana Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI), and of Cell Biology, HMS. Mitochondrial metabolism and physiology regulation by redox-active metabolites. https://chouchanilab.dana-farber.org/

Nika Danial, PhD, Associate Professor of Cancer Biology and of Medicine, DFCI; Affiliate Member of Cell Biology, HMS. Molecular mechanisms and biologic consequences of cellular fuel choices. In collaboration with the Farese-Walther lab, showed that metabolic gene expression is regulated by partitioning of MLX-family transcription factors to lipid droplets. https://www.dfhcc.harvard.edu/insider/member-detail/member/nika-danial-phd/

A. Sloan Devlin, PhD, Assistant Professor of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, HMS. Uses small molecules to study and manipulate human-associated bacteria in order to better understand how microbiomes affect human health and disease, including effects of microbiomes on metabolism, circadian rhythm, and immune pathways in the gut and liver. https://devlin.hms.harvard.edu/sloan/

Robert Farese, Jr., MD, Professor of Molecular Metabolism, Chair of the Department of Molecular Metabolism , HSPH. Drs. Farese and Walther run a joint lab to investigate lipid and energy metabolism in cells; the generation, storage, and metabolism of lipid macromolecules; and lipid processes in membrane biology and cell physiology. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/robert-farese/

Wendy Garrett, MD, PhD, Professor of Immunology & Infectious Diseases, Departments of Immunology & Infectious Diseases, Molecular Metabolism, HSPH; and Medicine, HMS; Co-Director of the Harvard Chan Microbiome in Public Health Center. Interplay between the gastrointestinal immune system and the gut microbiome, focusing on host metabolic responses in health and in diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/wendy-garrett/

Marcia Haigis, PhD, Professor of Cell Biology, Department of Cell Biology, HMS. Studies how molecular pathways that control metabolic health and aging impact mitochondrial bioenergetics and signaling using proteomics, cell biology, and mouse genetics. https://haigis.hms.harvard.edu/marcia-c-haigis-phd

Sheng “Tony” Hui, PhD, Assistant Professor of Molecular Metabolism, Department of Molecular Metabolism, HSPH. Leverages quantitative analysis of intracellular metabolism to quantify systemic and tissue-specific metabolic flux in vivo. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/sheng-tony-hui/

Nora Kory, PhD, Assistant Professor of Molecular Metabolism, HSPH. Studies mitochondrial energy generation and how metabolite exchange is adjusted to meet metabolic demand and cell state. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/profile/nora-kory/

Quan Lu, PhD, Associate Professor of Environmental Health, Department of Environmental Health, HSPH. Integrative genomics of lung biology and disease; gene-environmental interactions; microvesicle trafficking and receptor signaling. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/quan-lu/

William Mair, PhD, Associate Professor of Molecular Metabolism, Department of Molecular Metabolism, HSPH. Integrates molecular studies of cellular or tissue metabolism into models of biological processes such as healthy aging. Studies molecular and cellular mechanisms influencing the metabolic health of animals as they age, with a focus on nutrient- and energy-sensing pathways and insulin signaling. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/william-mair/

 Brendan Manning, PhD, Professor of Molecular Metabolism, Department of Molecular Metabolism, HSPH. Studies how signals from nutrients and growth factors are propagated to coordinately regulate nutrient metabolism. Investigates molecular regulation of the Pl3K-mTOR network under physiological and pathological states and how its downstream functions contribute to metabolic homeostasis and dysfunction. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/brendan-manning/

Pere Puigserver, PhD, Professor of Cancer Biology and Cell Biology, Departments of Cancer Biology and Cell Biology, HMS and DFCI. Investigates the cell-signaling pathways that impact nutrient sensing and bioenergetic responses in cells and metabolic tissues. https://cellbio.hms.harvard.edu/faculty-staff/pere-puigserver-phd

Jean Schaffer, MD, Associate Research Director of the Joslin Diabetes Center, Member of the Faculty of Medicine at HMS. Investigates the mechanisms linking metabolic stress to cell dysfunction and cell death, including lipotoxicity caused by high circulating free fatty acids and triglycerides. https://www.schafferlab.org/jean-schaffer

Bruce Spiegelman, MD, PhD, Stanley Korsmeyer Professor of Cancer Biology and Medicine, HMS. Uncovering the molecular basis of energy homeostasis and tissue development, using adipogenesis and muscle as primary model systems. Interests include the biochemical mechanisms of metabolic diseases, especially obesity, insulin­ resistant diabetes (type 2), and muscle diseases. http://www.hms.harvard.edu/dms/bbs/fac/spiegelman.php

Tobias Walther, PhD, Professor of Molecular Metabolism, Department of Molecular Metabolism, HSPH. See above description for Robert Farese. The Farese-Walther and Biddinger labs jointly identified molecular links between hepatic insulin signaling and lipid metabolism. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/tobias-walther/

Dyann Wirth, PhD, Professor of Immunology & Infectious Diseases, HSPH. Investigates molecular aspects of malaria infection, with an emphasis on metabolic responses to the parasite. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/dyann-wirth/

Zhi-Min Yuan, MD, PhD, Professor of Environmental Health, Department of Environmental Health, HSPH. Elucidates signaling mechanisms that regulate cellular stress responses and examines how stress signals affect cell behaviors. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/zhi-min-yuan/

FUNDING:

MMTP is funded through a training grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), award number: T32DK128781

NIDDK’s mission statement: : https://www.niddk.nih.gov/about-niddk/meet-director/mission-vision 

QUESTIONS:

Inquiries regarding the MMTP can be directed to Katrina Soriano, Executive Director in the Department of Nutrition and the Department of Molecular Metabolism: Kwright@hsph.harvard.edu