Thomas J. Baranski, M.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Medicine and Molecular Biology and Pharmacology
Internal Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism & Lipid Research
|Mailing Address:||848 SW Tower|
|Office Location:||660 S. Euclid Ave
Campus Box 8127
St. Louis, MO 63110
|Office Phone:||(314) 747-3997|
|Lab Phone:||(314) 747-2927|
Metabolic Regulation and Obesity
Signal Transduction/Hormone Action
Category(ies) of Research:
Descriptor of Research:
Our laboratory studies signal transduction by G protein-coupled receptors, a superfamily of heptahelical transmembrane proteins. The receptors act as elegantly engineered switches, receiving signals involved in many physiologic processes - blood pressure regulation, glucose homeostasis, sight and smell - to turn on specific signaling cascades within cells. We use engineered yeast to apply the power of genetics to the study of signaling by human G protein-coupled receptors. Insights into how ligands activate receptors will aid in drug design and greatly impact medicine; more than half of currently prescribed pharmaceuticals target G protein-coupled receptors. A new project in the lab involves a model system of glucose toxicity in the simple model organism Drosophila melanogaster. We have performed screens in flies to identify genes that contribute to the effects of a high glucose diet on developing larvae. On high sugar diets, the flies develop phenotypes similar to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes mellitus. We are using this model to understand the pathogenesis of diet-induced diabetes.