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Nuria Morral, PhD
Associate Professor of Medical & Molecular Genetics
1987 B.Sc. Biology, University of Barcelona, Spain
1994-1998 Postdoctoral Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Molecular and Human Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX
HONORS AND AWARDS
1994 Best Young Investigator Award on Human Genetics, Spanish Association of Human Genetics, Spain
1999-2003 Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International/Career Development Award
2009-2012 Member, American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy, Gene therapy of Genetic Diseases Committee
2009-2012 Standing member, American Diabetes Association Research Grant Review Committee
2011-2017 Standing Member, Gene and Drug Delivery Systems study section, NIH
2017-2018 American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy, Oligonucleotide and RNAi Therapeutics Committee Chair
Surendran S, Jideonwo VN, Merchun C, Ahn M, Murray J, Ryan J, Dunn K, Kota J, Morral N. Gene targets of mouse miR-709: regulation of distinct pools. Scientific Reports 6:18958 (2016).
Mansouri A, Pacheco-López G, Ramachandran D, Arnold M, Leitner C, Prip-Buus C, Langhans W, and Morral N. Enhancing hepatic mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation stimulates eating in food-deprived mice. The American Journal of Physiology - Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology 308:R131-R137 (2015).
Ruiz, R., Jideonwo, V., Ahn, M., Surendran, S., Tagliabracci, VS., Hou, Y., Gamble, A., Kerner, J., Irimia-Dominguez, JM., Puchowicz, MA., DePaoli-Roach, A., Hoppel, C., Roach, P., Morral, N. Sterol Regulatory Element Binding Protein-1 (SREBP-1) is required to regulate glycogen synthesis and gluconeogenic gene expression in mouse liver. Journal of Biological Chemistry 289:5510-5517 (2014).
Ahn, M., Witting, S.R., Ruiz, R., Saxena, R., Morral, N. Constitutive expression of shRNA in vivo triggers build up of mature hairpin molecules. Human Gene Therapy 22:1483-1497 (2011).
Ruiz, R., Witting, S.R., Saxena, R., Morral, N. Robust hepatic gene silencing for functional studies using helper-dependent adenovirus vectors. Human Gene Therapy 20:87-94 (2009).
Morral, N., Edenberg, HJ., Witting, SR., Altomonte, J., Chu, T., Brown, M. Effects of glucose metabolism on regulation of genes of fatty acid synthesis and triglyceride secretion in the liver. Journal of Lipid Research 48:1499-1510 (2007).
Morral, N. Novel targets and therapeutic strategies for type 2 diabetes. Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism 14:169-75 (2003).
Morral, N., O’Neal, W.K., Rice, R., Leland, M., Kaplan, J., Piedra, P.A., Zhou, H., Parks, R., Velji, R., Aguilar-Cordova, E., Wadsworth, S., Graham, F.L., Kochanek, S., Carey, K.D., Beaudet, A.L. Administration of helper-dependent adenoviral vectors and sequential delivery of different vector serotype for long-term liver-directed gene transfer in baboons. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA (Track II) 96:12816-12821 (1999).
Titles & Appointments
- Associate Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is a complex multifactorial disease with a strong polygenic basis. However, environmental and lifestyle factors also play a significant role in disease development. My research is focused at understanding how nutrients and hormones influence gene expression, and elucidating basic mechanisms that lead to hepatic insulin resistance.
Sterol Regulatory Element Binding Protein 1c (SREBP-1c) is a transcription factor of the basic helix-loop-helix leucine zipper (bHLH-Zip) family that controls the expression of genes of the de novo lipogenesis synthesis pathway. SREBP-1 activity is increased in livers of individuals with obesity and animal models of obesity and T2D, contributing to enhance the flux of glucose towards acetyl-CoA production and de novo synthesis of fatty acids. Data generated from our lab indicates that silencing SREBP-1 in the liver of an animal model of T2D is associated with significant changes in expression of carbohydrate metabolism genes, in addition to lipogenesis genes, and with a concomitant decrease in chromatin remodeling factors. These data suggest that the epigenetic machinery senses changes in energy availability, and responds accordingly to adjust gene expression. Current research in the lab is focused at elucidating the contribution of epigenetics on the etiology of insulin resistance.
To address these fundamental questions, we are using animal models of diabetes and gene transfer approaches with helper-dependent adenoviral vectors. RNAi has become the cornerstone of gene function studies, circumventing the limitations of knock-out animals and shortening the otherwise long process of target identification and validation. Our lab is pioneer in using the helper-dependent adenoviral system to express short hairpin RNA (shRNA) in the liver.
Molecular Biology and GeneticsCourse Number: G716
G716 is an introductory course for graduate students enrolled in the Indiana University School of Medicine BioMedical Gateway (IBMG) program. The course emphasizes molecular biology, genetics, bioinformatics and molecular techniques that is central to biomedical research. Within most lectures, faculty will incorporate discussion of genetic mutations and medical genetic disorders related to the molecular biology & genetics topic for that lecture.
Gene transfer approaches to clinical and basic researchCourse Number: G725
This course provides an overview of current gene transfer technologies and their use in the treatment of human diseases as well as in basic research. There is a focus on the technical aspects of each vector, followed by an application in a human disease/experimental animal model.
Animal models of human diseaseCourse Number: G727
Molecular and Biochemical GeneticsCourse Number: Q612
This course will cover concepts of molecular and biochemical genetics with emphasis on examples of pathogenesis of human disease.
American Society of Gene Therapy
Spanish Association of Human Genetics