Postdoctoral fellows Drs. Nick Borcherding (CP-PSTP) and Wentong Jia were co-first authors on our recent publication reporting that dietary long-chain fatty acids inhibit mitochondria capture by macrophages, thereby diverting adipocyte-derived mitochondria into the blood for distribution to distant organs such as the heart. Immunology PhD student Rocky Giwa made a major contribution to the paper by showing that macrophages experiencing a metabolical catastrophe can capture, retain, and utilize exogenous mitochondria from their environment to overcome moments of metabolic crisis.
Dr. Wentong Jia, Ph.D., has officially joined the Brestoff Lab as a postdoctoral research associate. We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Jia to the group and look forward to working with him.
Dr. Jia received his Bachelor’s degree in 2013 from Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University before starting his PhD training at the State Key Laboratory of Stem Cell and Reproductive Biology, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences. His thesis work focused on NK cells in the placenta and led to his being award a PhD in 2020. Findings from this work stimulated Dr. Jia’s interest in exploring the metabolism and function of immune cells such as natural killer cells and macrophages change in obesity and type 2 diabetes, metabolic diseases that can impact placental biology. In his spare time, Dr. Jia enjoys playing basketball, singing and traveling.
Dr. Nicholas Borcherding, MD, PhD, MSc, was awarded a Paul E. Strandjord Young Investigator Award by the Academy of Clinical Laboratory Physicians and Scientists (ACLPS) for his abstract entitled “Mapping cell-to-cell mitochondria transfer in obesity using high-dimensional spectral flow cytometry.” Congratulations Nick!
Congratulations to Brestoff Lab members John Moley, Nicole Malvin, and Marina Rowen who co-authored this paper! We show that adipocytes transfer their mitochondria to macrophages in mice and that this process, which is mediated by heparan sulfates, is impaired in the setting of obesity. Genetically removing heparan sulfates from macrophages results in metabolic dysfunction characterized by impaired mitochondria transfer, adipose tissue expansion, glucose intolerance, and increased susceptibility to diet-induced obesity. See the full story here.