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Research Interests

The Nakamura lab is interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms that maintain metabolic homeostasis, elucidating the mechanisms of heart disease, and developing novel diagnostic techniques and therapeutic strategies. We apply the cutting-edge techniques, including molecular biology, genetics, physiology, bioinformatics, and biochemistry, and use genetically engineered mice with various stresses, including dietary intervention, neurohormone stimulation, pressure-overload, and ischemic injury, and primary cells isolated from mice to demonstrate the signaling pathways.

The following are current research areas:

Metabolic adaptation to stress in the heart

The heart is one of the most energy consuming (per gram) organs and primarily utilizes fatty acids for ATP production. The heart can flexibly take up other nutrients and metabolites depending on their availabilities to maintain contractile function as a blood pump under a stress condition. This metabolic adaptation is mediated by altered cellular signaling, in part, at the levels of transcription and posttranslational modification. We are interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms as to how metabolites signal the cell to change metabolic pathways so that the heart can flexibly adapt the metabolically different environment.

Dysregulated metabolism and heart disease 

In metabolic syndrome, such as diabetes, insulin resistance, and dyslipidemia, fatty acids that exceed the capacity of utilization are taken up and stored in the heart. Excess intramyocardial lipid accumulation is associated with cardiac hypertrophy and diastolic dysfunction. We are interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms as to how chronic imbalance of intracellular metabolites induce heart disease.

Inter-organ cross-talk under stress