The Czech laboratory is active in mentoring graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.
Many former student and postdoctoral trainees of the Czech laboratory are now internationally recognized professors at major universities and medical schools. These former lab members include:
Paul Pilch, Professor of Biochemistry, Boston University School of Medicine
Jeffrey Pessin, Professor and Director of the Diabetes Center, Einstein College of Medicine
Joan Massague, Director, Sloan Kettering Institute
Roger Davis, HHMI investigator and Professor of Molecular Medicine, UMASS Medical School
Silvia Corvera, Professor of Molecular Medicine, Co-Director of the MD/PhD Program, UMASS Medical School
Carla Greenbaum, Vice Chair and Director of Clinical Research, Benaroya Research Institute
Jes Klarlund, Professor of Ophthalmology, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
Rob Lewis, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Eppley Cancer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center
Richard MacDonald, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Eppley Cancer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center
Assia Shisheva, Professor of Physiology, Wayne State School of Medicine.
Mark Sleeman, Professor of Physiology, Monash University, Australia
John Harris, Associate Professor of Medicine, UMASS Medical School
Zhen Jiang, Associate Professor of Pharmacology and Medicine, Boston University
Vishu Puri, Professor of Biomedical Sciences, Ohio University
Olga Gupta, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
Tim Fitzgibbons, Assistant Professor of Medicine, UMASS Medical School
Myriam Aouadi, Assistant Professor, Integrated Cardio Metabolic Centre, Karolinska Institute
Adilson Guilherme, Associate Professor, University of Massachusetts Medical School
Our laboratory currently offers graduate student Rotation Projects (examples below and others available) and Thesis Research Projects for students following a rotation:
Developing CRISPR technology for gene editing in adipocytes: Adipocytes function as master regulators of whole body metabolism and deletions of specific adipocyte genes in knockout mice promote dramatic improvements in glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity in diabetic models. Thus the ability to direct gene editing in adipocytes in vivo has great potential in developing therapeutic strategies for obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular complications. Alternatively, an ex vivo approach is also feasible since adipose cells can be genetically altered in vitro prior to implantation into mice with beneficial effects. Such projects are designed to be performed in collaboration with other Czech lab members with the goal of specifically deleting or editing genes in adipose depots that drive increases in fatty acid oxidation, energy expenditure and systemic metabolic activity. Exciting preliminary data at the “proof of principle” stage has been achieved and this project is designed to focus on specific genes of high interest for therapeutics.
Signaling by the lipogenesis pathway through Acetyl CoA: A major function of adipocytes is to store calories as triglyceride, in part through the process of fatty acid synthesis (lipogenesis). This metabolic pathway involves a number of metabolites including Acetyl CoA, which is also a substrate for acetylation reactions that modify proteins such as histones. Thus metabolic flux through adipocyte lipogenesis may also function as a signaling pathway to the nucleus to modulate transcription via levels of Acetyl CoA that accumulate during this process. This rotation project is designed to test this idea at the molecular level by monitoring histone acetylations and resultant transcriptional events during changes in Acetyl CoA levels caused by altering physiological conditions such as exercise, obesity and diabetes. If this concept is correct, the project could lead to developing therapeutic strategies for metabolic disease based on targeting lipogenic enzymes.