Welcome to the Charlie Dong Lab in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Indiana University School of Medicine! The Dong Lab is doing cutting-edge research on alcoholic and nonalcoholic fatty liver diseases, fibrosis, diabetes, obesity, aging, and cancer. State-of-the-art molecular biology technologies are deployed to investigate key transcription factors like FOXOs, epigenetic regulators like sirtuins, autophagy regulators like ATG14, cell signaling regulators like sestrins, lipid metabolism enzymes like PNPLA3, and other emerging therapeutic targets.
The Dong Lab is investigating the physiological and pathological aging processes at cell, organ, and system levels. As Foxo transcription factors and Sirt6 are longevity-promoting factors, it is of importance to understand their biological functions. Both cell and animal models are used for this line of research.
The Dong Lab is also actively investigating oncogenes and tumor suppressors and their roles in the process of cell transformation and tumorigenesis. As the incidents of liver cancer is on the rise, the current focus of cancer research in the Dong Lab is to understand how the liver cancer is initiated and how the cancer can be prevented.
Diabetes and Obesity
Owing to overnutrition and sedentary lifestyle in the current society, the prevalence of diabetes and obesity is steadily increasing. This laboratory is investigating molecular mechanisms that control the normal physiology and pathophysiology in diet-induced and genetic defect-induced diabetes and obesity. Both cell and animal models are used to illustrate the underlying mechanisms.
Alcoholic and Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
Both ethanol consumption and overnutrition can cause excessive triglyceride accumulation in the liver, commonly called hepatic steatosis or fatty liver. The fatty liver disease can progress to more serious liver problems including hepatitis, fibrosis, cirrhosis, and even hepatocellular carcinoma. The Dong Lab is investigating the whole spectrum of the fatty liver disease and aiming to understand the mechanism of pathogenesis. Both in vitro and in vivo models will be used for this line of research.