Dr. Natalie Torok's lab investigates the molecular mechanisms of liver fibrosis, focusing on the role of oxidative pathways in non-alcoholic and alcoholic steatohepatitis.
Dr. Torok's lab has demonstrated the intricate link between hepatocyte cell death, generation of apoptotic bodies and their phagocytosis by stellate cells triggering fibrogenic activation. Key to this was the activation of the NADPH oxidase and production of reactive oxidative species inducing stellate cell transdifferentiation and collagen I transcription.
They have expanded their work focusing on the role of non-phagocytic NADPH oxidases including NOX4 in dysregulating insulin responses and precipitating stress signaling in non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. As patients with type II diabetes mellitus develop more progressive liver disease, the lab is now studying how advanced glycation end products (AGEs) engage RAGE signaling in the liver and NADPH oxidase-mediated redox stress.
Dr. Torok's lab's ultimate goal is to translate our findings and develop novel therapeutic approaches that reverse fibrosis in NASH and improve patient outcomes.