Research & Publications
Dr. Vatner’s research focuses on several aspects of triglyceride metabolism in the setting of insulin resistance and/or nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Altered substrate flux appears to be the unifying principle driving dysregulated triglyceride synthesis in insulin resistant subjects; both synthesis by esterification of pre-formed fatty acids from adipose lipolysis and diet, and fatty acid synthesis by de novo lipogenesis from smaller molecules (carbohydrate, amino acids, lactate, citrate). Studies of triglyceride synthesis are performed in multiple rodent models (mouse and rat) of metabolic dysregulation, and in humans with multiple insulin resistance phenotypes. Additionally, we are interested in how alterations in normal lipid metabolism can play a role in the transition between NAFLD and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Through these basic studies of metabolism, we hope to inform future approaches to prevention and treatment of comorbidities of the metabolic syndrome, including addressing excess risk for atherosclerotic vascular disease and NASH.