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FUNCTIONAL GENOMICS AND METABOLIC SIGNALING IN THE LIVER

Metabolic disease is one of the biggest health problems in modern society and a tremendous burden on healthcare systems worldwide. Obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, insulin resistance, and diabetes are aspects of a systemic state of metabolic dysfunction referred to as the metabolic syndrome.

The metabolic syndrome is commonly linked to a sedentary lifestyle with excess calorie intake but it is well documented that also genetic traits contribute. Hallmarks at the cellular level include chronic, systemic inflammation and a profound metabolic inflexibility.

We are interested in the hepatic manifestations of the metabolic syndrome: Hepatic insulin resistance, steatosis, fibrosis, and cirrhosis. Insufficiently treated liver cirrhosis may result in liver failure or progress into hepatocellular carcinoma.

Through in vivo studies of cell-signaling pathways, transcriptional networks, and physiology we pursue a deeper understanding of disease mechanisms. This knowledge will help us identify and explore novel molecular targets for therapeutic intervention.

Areas of particular interest to us:

- Cross talk between hepatic cell types in the pathogenesis of hepatic fibrosis.
- Mechanisms controlling hepatic stellate cell trans-differentiation in the fibrotic liver.
- Nutritional and hormonal signaling in metabolic disease.

Our core techniques include:

- Transgenic animals and animal models of metabolic disease
- In vivo gene manipulation by adeno-associated virus
- Isolation and culture of primary hepatic cell populations
- Cre-TRAP Ribosomal profiling
- RNA-seq and RT-qPCR
- ChIP-qPCR and ChIP-seq
- Confocal fluorescence microscopy
- Protein analyses by western blotting, immunofluorescence, and mass spectrometry*
- Bioinformatic data analysis*

(* collaborative projects possible)

We are currently looking for highly motivated and committed students at the bachelor-, ITEK-, and master-level.

For inquiries about our research and student projects please contact me at ravnskjaer@bmb.sdu.dk or swing by my office at BMB on Campusvej.

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