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Metabolism (MET) Core

Core Directors:  

John Thyfault portraitJohn Thyfault, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Cell Biology and Physiology

Paige Geiger portraitPaige Geiger, Ph.D. 
Professor, Department of Cell Biology and Physiology 

About the Core 

Dysregulation of energy balance and impaired storage or oxidation of substrates are fundamental features of developing obesity and metabolic disease. Transitions from eucaloric to hypercaloric diet conditions or transitions from high to low physical activity (energy expenditure) can lead to increased adiposity and insulin resistance. Adaptive metabolic processes (thermogenesis) and centrally mediated changes in energy intake can protect against weight gain and maintain metabolic dysfunction. These protective mechanisms remain poorly understood but are increasingly examined for their potential to unravel new therapeutic targets. Unfortunately, protective systems that mitigate the effects of a positive energy balance are heterogeneous across individuals, leading to increased susceptibility to weight gain, adiposity, and metabolic dysfunction. Adaptive metabolic processes are also modified by diet macronutrient composition, physical activity, sleep, and other behavioral and environmental factors that are incompletely understood. In addition, obesity and the degree to which it induces metabolic dysfunction and chronic disease is also variable and depends on fat cell size, adipose depot specific expansion and ectopic fat storage in metabolic tissues (liver, pancreas, muscle). Moreover, the field continues to explore how treatment regimens including exercise and diet paradigms (time restricted feeding, low carbohydrate diets, alternate day fasting) can protect or treat obesity and metabolic complications. 

Overall, metabolic research that connects cellular mitochondrial energetics to whole body in vivo substrate metabolism and energy expenditure is critical for understanding mechanisms underlying metabolic dysfunction and obesity. The Metabolism (MET) core provides the Kansas Center for Metabolic and Obesity Research (KC-MORE) with expertise, methodologies and equipment for the study of “metabolism” from the cell to the whole body. The MET core mission is to:

  1. develop a new central MET core facility for pre-clinical models (rodents) that provides a host of key measurements, allowing for thorough metabolic phenotyping; and  
  2. provide resources to investigators to quantify mitochondrial energetics and employ isotopic tracer measures of metabolism (glucose, fatty acids, etc.) in both rodent models and human participants.  

MET Core Services

The MET core provides expertise and equipment to quantify real-time measures of in-vivo energy metabolism, substrate metabolism, food intake regulation and glucose/insulin tolerance testing along with non-invasive measures of body composition in pre-clinical rodent models. The core also provides tools to control environmental factors (temperature), modify physical activity/exercise behavior or manipulate dietary intake. 

The MET core provides expertise and methodologies to employ mitochondrial outcome measures (Seahorse and Oroboros O2k) in tissues and cells providing assessments of substrate specific mitochondrial coupling/uncoupling, oxygen consumption and reactive oxygen species formation in tissues from both rodents and humans. 

The MET core also provides expertise, support and analysis capabilities for the use of stable metabolic isotopes (i.e.,13C glucose or palmitate) in-vivo in humans and rodents or ex-vivo to measure rates of overall metabolic flux. 

Our Specific Aims

  1. Provide state-of-the art core services to investigators studying metabolism in pre-clinical rodent model systems. 
  2. Provide services for translational measures of mitochondrial energetics and stable metabolic isotopes for use in cells, tissues, rodents and human participants. 
Kansas Center for Metabolism and Obesity Research COBRE

Kansas Center for Metabolism and Obesity Research
University of Kansas Medical Center
Mail Stop 1018
3901 Rainbow Boulevard
Kansas City, KS 66160