Ron Cohen, M.D.

APPOINTMENTS

  • Associate Professor, Department of Medicine
    Chief, Section of Endocrinology, Committee on Molecular Medicine/MPMM, Committee on Molecular Metabolism and Nutrition

EDUCATION

M.D., Cornell University, 1992

CONTACT INFORMATION

The University of Chicago
KCDB 8126
900 East 57th Street
Chicago, IL 60637

roncohen@medicine.bsd.uchicago.edu

Phone: (773) 834-1012

Website (Department of Medicine)

RESEARCH SUMMARY

Role of Corepressor Action with Nuclear Hormone Receptors

The overall goal of my project is to study the role of nuclear receptor corepressors in hormone action.  We are currently focusing on the corepressor SMRT and its function in the adipocyte.  Although the adipocyte was previously considered solely an energy storage depot, we now understand that it’s an active endocrine cell.  Adipocyte differentiation is also uniquely dependent on the nuclear receptor PPARg.  Our initial studies showed that SMRT regulates PPARg transcriptional activity and, in fact, dictates the degree of activation induced by thiazolidinediones, which are exogenous PPARg ligands used in the treatment of Type 2 diabetes.  More recently, we have designed mice with decreased SMRT levels.  These mice exhibit normal weight on a chow diet, but develop increased adiposity when fed a high-fat diet.  This phenoptype is due to a combination of increased adipogenesis and greater food intake.  Interestingly, adipocytes derived from these mice exhibit enhanced insulin actions, even in the setting of increased adiposity.  These findings lend support to the hypothesis that impairments in the ability to expand fat mass appropriately in the setting of positive energy balance may lead to metabolic derangements in obesity and Type 2 diabetes.

Research Papers in PubMed