Research Areas in the Koliwad Lab
Beyond forming our bodily energy stores, dietary fats and lipids are critical for the synthesis of cellular membranes, vitamins, skin lipids and waxes, blood clotting, gene expression, and cell signaling cascades. However, high tissue levels of fatty acids, ceramides, phospholipid and sphingolipid species, and cholesterol can produce toxic effects that lead to dysfunction diverse tissues ranging from the liver, skeletal muscle, white fat, blood vessels, pancreas, and brain.
Each of these tissues are characterized by a close interaction between parenchymal cells involved in the particular function of the tissue, and specialized myeloid cells. We view myeloid cells as being critical modulators of tissue function, sensing lipid levels in unique ways and signaling accordingly to alter the function of surrounding cell types. In disease states, this cross-talk is dysfunctional, and fuels chronic low-grade inflammation that promotes disease progression. Our goal is to mitigate tissue inflammation to identify better avenues for disease treatment and prevention.