Research Laboratories

Adipocyte Biology and Metabolic Diseases Laboratory

Dr. Michelle Foster, Director


The integration of adipocyte function, energy homeostasis and metabolic disease. Current areas of investigation include: role of adipose tissue distribution in obesity-related comorbidities, nutrient-mediated effects on adipose tissue function, effects of visceral adipose tissue on insulin action, interactions among adipose tissue, liver and the gastrointestinal tract. Procedures are conducted in rodents and cell models.

Recent Publications

Adipose tissue extrinsic factor: Obesity-induced inflammation and the role of the visceral lymph node.

Obesity associated disease risk: the role of inherent differences and location of adipose depots.

Current Projects

College/University Projects

  • Melinda Fry, Associate Professor, Biomedical Science – Area of collaboration include investigating the effects of high-fat diet induced body fat distribution and its relation to metabolic disease. Our laboratory has participated in Fry lab terminations and have collected tissue to investigate DHA effects on chronic low grade inflammation induced by western diet.
  • Gerrit Bouma, Associate Professor, Animal Reproduction and Biotechnology Laboratory Adipose. Areas of collaboration include exosome and microvesicle secretion from adipose tissue depots and their role in obesity-induced dysregulation. The laboratory of Dr. Bouma processes samples of our cultured cells that originated from adipose tissue depots from termination.
  • Kelly Santangelo, Assistant Professor, Department of Clinical Sciences – Kelly investigates joint pain, she is now interested in investigating the effect of obesity on patellar adipose tissue and determine the association between inflammation and adipocytokine dysregulation. Kelly collects carcasses from our termination of transgenic or high fat diet induced obese mice.
  • Greg Florant, Professor, Biology – Collaboration: Aid in sample collection and post-termination procedures. Tissues are from exotic animal models such as ground Squirrels and Marmots. Specific areas of collaborative interests include regulation of adiposity alterations during hibernation.


  • Director - Dr. Michelle Foster
  • Collaborators
    • Michael Pagliassotti – Common interest in obesity-induce fatty liver, liver damage and associated markers and adipose tissue regulation of portal effluent.
    • Tiffany Weir – We investigate the how the gut, visceral lymph nodes and adipose tissue communicate in both lean and obese animals.
    • Kim Cox-York and Chris Gentile – Common interest include adipose tissue distribution and its related risk to cardiovascular disease and depot/region specific difference in adipose tissue vasculature function.