Bio-X SIGF Graduate Student Fellow

Awarded in 2021
Home Department: Chemistry
Faculty Advisors: Jonathan Long (Pathology) and Justin Du Bois (Chemistry)

Research Title: Chemical Interrogation of an Exercise-Induced Metabolite Signaling Pathway

Research Description: The molecular mechanisms that mediate the systemic benefits of physical activity has remained largely mysterious. The Long lab has identified Lac-Phe as an exercise-stimulated circulating metabolite that functions as a periphery-to-brain-signal to suppress appetite and obesity. Veronica will use a multidisciplinary approach that combines chemical synthesis, slice electrophysiology, and in vivo metabolic phenotyping to understand the structural features that mediate the anorexigenic bioactivity of Lac-Phe. When successful, this proposal will elucidate the structural characteristics of Lac-Phe required for appetite suppression, thereby providing potential therapeutic avenues for “capturing” the molecular transducers of physical activity for improving human health.