Profile: Scientist, McMaster Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute
Department: Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences, McMaster University
The Szabo lab focuses on dissecting the functional, molecular and genetic interplay between adipocyte development (from adult and pluripotent sources) and metabolic disease pathogenesis. Adipose tissue dysfunction and abnormal preadipocyte proliferation and differentiation results in obesity and increases the chance of developing type II diabetes and cancers. Moreover, adipocytes were shown to posses the capacity to alter pharmacokinetics and/or induce drug resistance by secretion of adipokines. Thus, understanding human adipose tissue development and underlying mechanism of aberrant adipocyte regulation may provide novel therapeutic targets for management of obesity, diabetes and cancers. Current projects include: 1) Establishment of a robust differentiation system to study both white and brown adipocyte development in humans, as well as disease models for obesity and type II diabetes that can be utilized for understanding these devastating diseases and development of new treatment strategies; 2) Development of human preadipocyte models for the characterization of cellular and molecular event involved in preadipocyte generation providing a method for studying the mechanisms underlying normal and excessive adipose tissue development and establishment of novel drug screening platforms. Projects within the lab encompass human embryonic and adult stem cell, hiPSC and direct reprogramming technologies to address the link between adipocyte development and metabolic diseases or neoplastic transformation/maintenance.