MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-9) today announced that Christian Brothers University (CBU) will receive a research grant of $205,900 to study lipid oxidation in skeletal muscles from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. The research is under the direction of Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. Jaycob Dalton Warfel.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

“I commend CBU and Professor Warfel for undertaking this important metabolic research which is sure to lead to important discoveries and, in time, improve health outcomes. It is always good to see the National Institutes of Health investing in research by our outstanding Memphis educational institutions.”

From Dr. Jaycob Warfel:

Mammalian cells have the ability to use sugars, fats, and proteins to produce energy.  However, it is not entirely understood how cells sense and switch between these fuel sources. My research laboratory began at Pennington Biomedical Research Center (PBRC) within the Louisiana State University System, where we identified an important cellular machine known as HuR, which is involved in maintaining the skeletal muscle cell’s ability to flex between sugars and fats as fuel. Our research also shows that HuR is more imperative for regulation of metabolism in male muscle than in female muscle. 

Working with a talented team of collaborators and undergraduate research associates at PBRC and CBU, our NIH funded 2-year project aims to test the hypothesis that female mammals can bypass HuR controlled metabolism through increased cycling of the ovarian hormone estrogen.  This project thus has the potential to enhance our understanding of why changes in estrogen levels can contribute to metabolic decline.  We are enthusiastic about the data this project will generate, and for the opportunity to engage our outstanding undergraduates with nationally recognized biomedical research.