Cellular metabolic states must perpetually adapt in the face of fluctuating environmental conditions (eg. altered fatty acid levels) to maintain the health of the cell. Determining how the cell monitors and adapts to changing environments is a fundamental question in biology and is imperative for understanding the aberrant cellular physiology that underlies numerous diseases, such as metabolic diseases and cancer.
Lipid droplets are organelles that function as central lipid metabolism hubs, controlling the storage and mobilization of neutral lipids (eg. fat and sterol esters) in the cell. The Olzmann Lab research group applies systems-level strategies and cell biology approaches to understand the mechanisms that regulate lipid droplets and the functions of lipid droplets in maintaining lipid homeostasis. They are particularly interested in how lipid droplet proteome is established and regulated, how lipid droplet interact and communicate with other organelles, and the potential to manipulate lipotoxic pathways to therapeutically target cancer.