College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific

Metabolic Diseases

Metabolic diseases

Mihai Covasa Mihai Covasa, PhD
Associate Professor of Physiology
Office#: (909) 469-8215 – Lab#: (909) 469-8291
Research Interests: Obesity and diabetes are major causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide Using a combination of molecular, neuroanatomical, behavioral, biochemical and physiological approaches we are investigating satiation signals that control eating and regulation of body weight. Consequently, we are interested in the reduction of sensitivity to satiation signals in response to dietary adaptation (particularly dietary fat) and subsequent development of hyperphagia and obesity. We have developed several research programs in the following areas: 1) the interaction between metabolic events, orosensory factors, and central functions relevant to the initiation and termination of eating and the development of long term feeding patterns; 2) the neural regulation of eating during obesity and development of type-2 diabetes; 3) the central and peripheral taste and motivational processes in obesity and diabetes; 4) the effects of chronic exposure to dietary fats on neural adaptation, subsequent overconsumption and weight gain; 5) the role of gut microbiota in intestinal chemosensation. The control of eating and regulation of body weight require integration of sensory neural processes originating in the oral cavity and viscera and those systems that assign actual hedonic value to a meal. In obesity, this intricate relationship is perturbed. Using rodent models of obesity and diabetes, my laboratory demonstrated that, similar to obese humans, obese rats have an increased avidity for palatable foods (sucrose and oils) that progresses during prediabetes and diabetes. We also showed, that animal prone to become obese exhibit a host of postoral behavioral and neural deficits and fail to integrate postabsorptive and orosensory effects of palatable tastants.
Sebastien Fuchs Sebastien Fuchs, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor of Pharmacology
Office#: (909) 469-5232
Research Interests: I am studying the biochemistry and physiology of Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme (ACE) in vivo in genetically modified animals. Beside blood pressure, ACE is involved in many other function including peptide presentation (immunology), extracellular matrix control (end-organ damages), male fertility, Alzheimer’s disease. My current areas of research are organ fibrosis (inflammation and extracellular matrix processing) and Alzheimer’s disease. I have acquired numerous scientific/technical skills (molecular biology: DNA manipulation, mutation, plasmid construction and analysis, animal genetic models, biochemistry, cellular biology, in vivo experimentation, animal physiology).
M Peterfy Miklos Peterfy, PhD
Professor of Biochemistry
Office#: (909) 706-3949
Research Interests: Dr. Peterfy’s research interest is the genetic and molecular basis of common metabolic diseases including obesity, diabetes and dyslipidemia. His goal is to identify novel genes and mechanisms responsible for metabolic abnormalities and provide the foundation for the development of novel therapeutic approaches.
Edward Wagner Edward Wagner, PhD
Professor of Physiology
Office/Lab#: (909) 469-5239
Research Interests: My research interests focus on how cannabinoids regulate the hypothalamic feeding circuitry to affect changes in feeding behavior and energy homeostasis in male and female subjects, and how gonadal steroids modulate this interaction. I use state-of-the-art instrumentation to assess cannabinoid-induced changes in daily and hourly food intake, as well as meal size, frequency and duration, core body temperature and weight gain/loss, and how these changes correlate with alterations in neurotransmitter release and cell excitability at anorexigenic proopiomelanocortin (POMC) synapses within the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus. I recently have discovered that males are much more sensitive to the appetite-modulating properties of CB1 receptor agonists and antagonists than females, which correlates with marked sex differences in the pre- and post synaptic actions of cannabinoids at POMC synapses. These findings indicate that gender should be taken into account when considering the use of cannabinoids in the treatment of HIV/AIDS- or cancer-related cachexia, or obesity.