Irfan Lodhi received his PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of Michigan Medical School, where he studied signaling pathways involved in insulin-stimulated glucose transport in adipocytes under the mentorship of Dr. Alan Saltiel. In 2007, he joined Dr. Clay Semenkovich’s laboratory at Washington University School of Medicine as a postdoctoral research fellow to study lipid metabolism. Dr. Lodhi joined the faculty as an instructor in the Department of Medicine in 2011 and was appointed Assistant Professor of Medicine on the tenure track in 2014.
Peroxisomes are multifunctional organelles that play a key role in lipid metabolism. Our laboratory takes an integrative approach to study the biology of peroxisomes in the context of metabolic disorders, such as obesity and diabetes. Peroxisomes are intimately associated with lipid droplets and mitochondria. Their ability to carry out fatty acid oxidation and lipid synthesis, especially the production of ether-linked phospholipids, may be critical for generating cellular signals required for normal physiology.
Adipose tissue is an incredibly complex organ that regulates whole body energy balance. Two major types of adipose tissue are found in mammals, white fat and brown fat. Both types store energy as triglyceride in intracellular lipid droplets and secrete a host of hormones, called adipokines, which influence metabolic homeostasis. White adipose tissue primarily stores fat, which can be mobilized in times of need. In contrast, brown adipose tissue is highly specialized for transforming the chemical energy in food into heat through uncoupled respiration. Our recent studies suggest that peroxisomal biogenesis dramatically increases during adipocyte differentiation. The current studies in our laboratory are focused on understanding the role of peroxisomal dynamics in adipose tissue development and function. In addition, we are interested in understanding the interaction of peroxisomes with other organelles and the role of these interactions in adipose tissue remodeling and thermogenesis.