Sunny lab: Uncovering the Secrets of the Mitochondria

Mitochondria, considered the powerhouse of our cells, integrates nutrient metabolism and energy production to maintain normal cell function. Optimal mitochondrial function promotes growth and development, while mitochondrial dysfunction is a key feature of the metabolic diseases including obesity, diabetes and fatty liver. Sunny lab focuses on identifying strategies to enhance mitochondrial function targeted towards a) healthy growth and development and b) treatment of metabolic diseases. Sunny lab utilizes a variety of in vitro cell culture systems with in vivo animal models to tease out mechanisms regulating the mitochondrial function. These animal models include diet-induced/ transgenic mice models to probe mitochondrial dysfunction during metabolic disease and novel developing chicken embryo/ neonatal chick model to probe metabolic transition of mitochondrial networks during growth and development. Sunny lab profiles mitochondrial metabolism utilizing a combination of techniques including the state-of-the-art stable isotope based metabolic flux analysis, targeted metabolomics and tissue protein and gene profiling.