April NORC Spotlight: Mauricio Dorfman
I am a Biochemist and PhD in Pharmacology (both degrees obtained at the University of Chile). Currently, I am a Research Assistant Professor in the Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology and Nutrition, and I am also an affiliate faculty member of the UW Medicine Diabetes Institute. Our lab is located in the UW Medicine Research Facility in South Lake Union.
My research focuses on investigating the role of the Central Nervous System (CNS) in mediating the protective effect of sex steroids on metabolic disease.
In collaboration with other NORC investigators, we have found that testosterone deficient male mice in combination with a Western-style diet promotes hypothalamic gliosis (microglia and astrocyte activation/inflammation) concomitant with increased atherogenic risk factors, providing supportive evidence for regulation of lipid metabolism and cardiometabolic risk by the CNS action of sex steroids. We are now testing the causality of this associations by using genetic animal models (microglial and astrocyte-specific genetic interventions).
We are also interested in brain mechanisms by which estrogens protect from obesity and its associated metabolic diseases. Estrogens have several metabolic effects, including suppressing energy intake and lipogenesis, enhancing energy expenditure, improving insulin sensitivity, and immunomodulation. We have found that ovarian ablation increases diet-induced weight gain and hypothalamic microgliosis (macrophages of the brain). Our lab is currently testing the hypothesis that estrogen protects from diet-induced obesity by reducing microglial inflammation acting through estrogen receptor alpha and/or beta.
We have used the following NORC services in in our recent projects: 1) Energy Balance Core; and 2) Analytic Core.
To learn more about Dr. Dorfman’s research publications, Click here