Featuring: Grant Barish, MD
Grant Barish, MD, the Martha Leland Sherwin Professor of Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Molecular Medicine, has been elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI).
“The ASCI has wonderful members who have accomplished great things in science and medicine, and it’s an honor to join the ranks of such a group,” Barish said. “There are so many members who I’ve overlapped with during training and as a faculty member. I look forward to reconnecting with them.”
Barish studies the genetic and biological basis of metabolism and inflammation, especially in the context of transcriptional regulators and their downstream effects on conditions such as obesity.
In a recent study published in eLife, Barish and collaborators identified a new function for a transcriptional repressor called BCL6, finding that it switches off genes involved in lipid metabolism. When BCL6 was experimentally removed from mouse liver cells, many fat-burning genes were permanently switched on. Even when the mice were fed a high-fat diet, they burned off fat stores in their livers, making BCL6 inhibition an interesting target for boosting the liver’s ability to burn excess fat in treatment for fatty liver disease, a condition common among individuals who are obese.
“Obesity touches so many different problems, whether it’s cardiovascular risk, diabetes or certain cancers,” Barish said. “Since it affects such a huge percentage of the worldwide population, this is an area that deserves study because it’s quite important and today, the therapies are not good enough.”
Barish said he credits Feinberg’s supportive environment, strong graduate program and his department and division’s leadership for his success as an independent investigator.
“I have had great mentors and collaborators at NU, including Dr. Debabrata Chakravati. I am particularly indebted to Dr. Joseph Bass for his mentorship as I became an independent investigator and for his continued commitment to making Northwestern a great place for research in metabolism,” Barish said.
This article was originally published in the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine News Center on April 11, 2022.
Grant Barish, MD, the Martha Leland Sherwin Professor of Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism, and Molecular Medicine, was elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation.
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