Donghua Hu, PhD
Postdoc Research Scholar
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Dr. Donghua Hu completed his PhD in the Menzies Institute for Medical Research, University of Tasmania in December 2018 under the guidance of Dr. Michelle A. Keske. His doctoral research focused on role of adipose tissue microvascular blood flow in type 2 diabetes and exercise training on skeletal muscle and adipose tissue microvascular blood flow in type 2 diabetes. He joined Dr. Lodhi Lab in the October 2019 and his projects will explore molecular mechanism through which peroxisomes regulate mitochondrial dynamics and brown adipose tissue thermogenesis for treatment of obesity and the associated type 2 diabetes.
Mammals maintain energy homeostasis by keeping a balance between food intake and energy expenditure. Enhancing energy expenditure could be an attractive strategy to obesity, which is rapidly increasing globally. One way to increase energy expenditure is through activation of brown adipose tissue by cold exposure. Peroxisome, a multifunctional organelle involved in lipid metabolism, may also play a role in thermogenesis. Preliminary studies in the Lodhi lab suggest that adipose-specific knockout of the critical peroxisomal biogenesis factor Pex16, suggested that peroxisomes are required for brown fat-mediated thermogenesis and that the loss of peroxisomes in adipose tissue is associated with decreased energy expenditure and increased adiposity. Also, peroxisomes affect thermogenesis by regulating mitochondrial dynamics. As dynamic organelles, mitochondria undergo repeated cycles of fission and fusion. Combined with the cold-induced stimulation of lipolysis, activation of mitochondrial fission is thought to serve as a critical physiological regulator of energy expenditure and thermogenic function of brown fat. He aims to develop molecular mechanism into the role of peroxisomes in adipose tissue thermogenesis and could identify a novel strategy to exploit the thermogenic function of brown fat for treatment of obesity and the associated type 2 diabetes.