Dr. Jeffrey Pessin is Director of the Einstein Diabetes Research Center. Dr. Pessin's laboratory studies the role of insulin signaling in activating and controlling glucose uptake and metabolism, the adult stem cell development of adipose (animal fat) tissue and why newly developed fat cells remain persistent despite weight loss.
Dr. Pessin’s current and future efforts are focused on the following:
- Aging as an insulin-resistant state, understanding the insulin-dependent regulation of SNARE protein interactions that are responsible for the docking and fusion of the GLUT4 (glucose transporter) containing vesicles with the plasma membrane (Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006).
- Dysregulation of preadipocytes, their inflammatory and secretory profile and their shorter telomeres are hallmarks of adipose aging and Dr. Pessin’s lab is focused on the identification and characterization of adipocyte adult stem cell precursors that are responsible for increased adiposity as in states of obesity and aging (Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007).
- As caloric restriction (CR) extends life and prevents most age-related disease in rodents, Dr. Pessin is trying to identify novel nutrient sensing potentially involved in aging. Several studies have proposed that the energy-sensor AMPK-activated protein kinase (AMPK) plays play a critical role in prolonging lifespan through CR as AMPK is activated in response to decreased energy levels such as exercise, fasting and CR. Recently, his lab observed that the Src tyrosine kinase family member Fyn is a critical regulator of AMPK activity. In particular, Fyn null mice display marked reductions in adiposity, increased insulin sensitivity and markedly lower serum and tissue lipid levels (Cell Metab. 2007).