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2015 - Lipids and Disease in Animals and Plants

The Genetics Graduate Program

at Michigan State University


Presents a Symposium On


Lipids and Disease
in Animals and


Wednesday, June 10, 2015
9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Room 471, Law College Bldg.
648 N Shaw Lane
Michigan State University

Click here for list of Poster Presenters

2015 Speakers:


John Dyer

John Dyer, Ph.D.
Research Molecular Biologist and Acting Research Leader
Department of Plant Physiology and Genetics
USDA-ARS, US Arid-Land
Agricultural Research Center,
Maricopa, AZ

We are interested in studying human lipid disorders to gain insight to conserved cellular processes that regulate lipid accumulation in both animals and plants. Our longer-term goal is to engineer plants to produce massive amounts of lipids in vegetative biomass that can serve as a renewable source of biofuel and feedstocks for industry.

Edgar Kooijman

Edgar Kooijman, Ph.D.
Associate Professor,
Department of Biological Sciences
Kent State University

Studies the biophysics of lipids in relationship to health and disease. A current focus of the lab is physical chemistry of the unusual membrane lipid diacylglycerol pyrophosphate (DGPP). This lipid has never been found in mammalian cell membranes but is made in plants, yeast and certain protozoans as a response to stress signaling. African and American trypanosomiasis, or sleeping disease and Chagas disease respectively, are caused by the protozoans Trypanosoma brucei and Trypanosoma cruzi. Trypanosomes make DGPP and understanding the function of this lipid may reveal additional treatment options for these debilitating tropical diseases.

Jianping Hu

Jianping Hu, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
DOE-Plant Research Laboratory
Michigan State University

Studies in the Hu lab showed that the phospholipid cardiolipin is essential to plant development and plays a dominant role in mitochondrial fission. CL stabilizes protein complexes of the key organelle division factor dynamin-related proteins 3 (DRP3). CL also protects plants from stresses that induce programmed cell death.

Douglas Mashek

Douglas Mashek, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Food Science and Nutrition
University of Minnesota

The focus of our research program is on fatty acid trafficking and signaling with an emphasis on hepatic lipid droplet biology. Specifically, we attempt to define non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) on a more molecular level and characterize how alterations in lipid droplet proteins influence cell signaling pathways linking NAFLD to its comorbidities