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Welcome to the Sewer Lab!

DIAPH1 Filipin

Our laboratory is located in the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Science at University of California, San Diego. Our research is focused on defining the factors that regulate lipid metabolism and identifying the functional significance of lipids in mediating cellular processes. We are investigating the spatiotemporal determinants that control localized lipid biosynthesis and the role of nuclear lipid production in the control of gene expression and epigenetic programs. Our goal is to define novel aspects of lipid metabolism and identify the factors that control the intricate and dynamic interplay between cholesterol, sphingolipid, and phospholipid metabolism. We have also found that multiple proteins involved in glucocorticoid production, including the nuclear receptor steroidogenic factor-1 (SF-1), NONO/p54nrb, diaphanous 1 (DIAPH1) and acid ceramidase (ASAH1), are phosphoproteins. The functional significance of signal-induced posttranslational modification in regulating protein function is an area of active investigation in the laboratory. Additionally, we have established a role for dynamic mitochondrial movement in facilitating the exchange of substrates between mitochondria and the endoplasmic reticulum during adrenocortical steroidogenesis. Thus, research in the lab is examining the mechanism by which cell signaling coordinates protein-protein interactions and inter-organelle substrate exchange. We anticipate that a more comprehensive understanding of the factors that control lipid metabolism will provide insight into the role of aberrant lipid signaling and production in the etiology of varied disease states, including Cushing’s syndrome, nonclassical congenital adrenal hyperplasia, polycystic ovary syndrome, and cancer.