DRTC HOME »


Category
Page
Record History
Added on June 19, 2014 at 1:53 PM by Sims, Yelana
Modified on November 3, 2014 at 2:18 PM by Ray, Terri
Shared with (contributions)
DRTC: Vanderbilt Diabetes: Prior Featured Investigators Master
John M. Stafford M.D., Ph.D.  
Assistant Professor  
Department of Medicine
Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology, & Metabolism
and Molecular Physiology and Biophysics
Staff Physician, Tennessee Valley Healthcare System  
 
Research Specialty
Defining how obesity and diabetes impact risk of cardiovascular disease
 
Description
The Stafford Lab aims to understand how obesity and diabetes contribute to cardiovascular risk, with a focus on how control points in lipid metabolism are altered. While death from coronary heart disease (CHD) has declined for lean individuals, for patients with obesity and diabetes, risk of death from CHD has doubled in recent decades.  The lab aims to understand how obesity and diabetes contribute to cardiovascular risk, with a focus on how control points in lipid metabolism are altered.  They study sex-difference in cardiovascular risk, which may related to the ability of estrogen to coordinate glucose and triglyceride metabolism as well as studying the molecular mechanisms by which metabolism of glucose and triglyceride metabolism are coordinated, the body’s two main energy sources.  The corollary is that relatively subtle failure this coordinate regulation could lead to abnormalities in both glucose and lipid metabolism –such as seen with obesity.

For humans, elevated serum triglycerides lead to elevated triglycerides in other lipoproteins. Triglyceride-enrichment of HDL promotes more rapid HDL clearance, and may impair HDL’s protective cardiovascular effects.  Rodents do not mimic this biology well.  Thus one research focus is to develop rodent models that are more similar to humans with regard to lipid metabolism. Mice transgenic for cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) have increased transfer of triglyceride into HDL.  The lab found that CETP-expressing mice model certain HDL changes with obesity. Rodent models with biology similar to humans may serve as a bridge between basic research and human disease, and help define how obesity and diabetes impact cardiovascular risk.