Dr. Vihang A. Narkar
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
McGovern Medical School
Institute of Molecular Medicine
Center for Metabolic and Degenerative Diseases
Our laboratory studies transcriptional regulation of metabolic and vascular homeostasis by nuclear receptors and their co-regulators. We use wide-ranging tools including genetically engineered mice, murine disease models, high-throughput gene expression analysis (e.g. RNA-sequencing, ChIP-sequencing), pharmacology, and molecular cell biology in our studies. These approaches are being used to investigate the role of nuclear receptors/co-regulators in (I) cellular processes such as genome-wide gene orchestration, mitochondrial biogenesis, oxidative fat metabolism and angiogenesis; (II) physiological phenomenon such as exercise adaptation and whole-body metabolism; as well as (III) diseases such as obesity/diabetes, vascular complications and muscular dystrophies. Our ongoing work has uncovered the therapeutic role of estrogen-related receptors (ERR’s) via metabolic and angiogenic regulation in peripheral arterial disease (PAD), and in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Similarly, our studies on peroxisome proliferator activator receptor delta (PPAR-delta) have yielded insights in to exercise mimicking cellular mechanisms that can be harnessed to boost metabolism, protect against obesity and prevent diabetes. On the other hand, we have also uncovered the detrimental role of nuclear receptor co-activator PGC1-beta in PAD and muscle degeneration via regulation of anti-angiogenic, apoptotic and autophagic pathways. Our work spanning the area of metabolic vascular syndromes that include obesity, diabetes and its cardiovascular complications has been published in journals including Cell, Cell Metabolism, Cell Reports, Circulation Research, eLife and Nature Communications. Additional details regarding our work can be found at the links below.