The laboratory focuses on the molecular mechanisms controlling mesenchymal cell differentiation with particular emphasis on the process of adipogenesis. The nuclear receptor PPARgamma serves as a key regulatory protein in promoting fat cell differentiation and this function constitutes an important target for restoring insulin sensitivity in diabetic patients. The factors responsible for commitment to the fat cell lineage during embryonic development have not been identified yet. One of our laboratory’s immediate research goals is to characterize novel molecules that can influence the adipogenic specification process. In addition, current studies are designed to define the key transcriptional circuits that are involved in lipid accumulation, glucose utilization and insulin sensitization.