Dr. Cheng seeks to dissect the molecular mechanisms that underlie mitochondrial abnormalities, and identify molecular targets that can be used to prevent and combat metabolic disorders such as obesity, diabetes, and cancer.
Mitochondria integrate hormonal and nutritional signals with metabolic and energy homeostasis. In the individuals with obesity, diabetes and cancer, mitochondrial abnormalities have been observed in the function, biogenesis and morphology. The mitochondrial alteration may account for the pathogenesis and progression of these metabolic diseases. To explore the molecular mechanisms, Dr. Cheng and his colleagues are using multiple disease models and interdisciplinary approaches to investigate the regulatory network that links hormonal and nutritional signaling pathways with mitochondrial function, and that links mitochondrial dysfunction with metabolic diseases. Dr. Cheng anticipates that intervention of the regulatory network may reveal new therapeutic rationale and drug targets.