Dr. Curtis Hughey, PhD, completed his doctoral studies at the University of Calgary in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. During his doctoral training he received a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Doctoral Scholarship and the Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Scholarship to study the use of stem cell therapy to promote in vivo insulin sensitivity in mouse models of diet-induced obesity and heart failure. With an interest in the genetic and environment regulation of in vivo glucose control, Dr. Hughey then pursued a postdoctoral fellowship at Vanderbilt University. While at Vanderbilt, he received a Canadian Diabetes Association Postdoctoral Fellowship to test the role of liver energy state in the regulation of glucose production during exercise. This work employed a metabolic flux analysis technique that uses stable isotopes, mass spectrometry, and computational modeling to quantify in vivo metabolic fluxes. An emerging research focus for the Hughey Laboratory at the University of Minnesota is to define the role of transmethylation in the metabolic reprogramming that occurs in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma.
Metabolic dysregulation underlies many public health challenges of modern society. The overarching objective of research in the Hughey Laboratory is to identify pathways within complex metabolic networks that can be used for early identification of disease or targeted to prevent or treat metabolic diseases. To accomplish this aim, studies combine the use of stable isotopes, mass spectrometry, and computational modeling to quantify in vivo metabolic fluxes in genetically-engineered mice. Many studies also employ provocative stimuli such as exercise and diet to challenge metabolic networks. Areas of focus are: The role of dysregulated hepatic transmethylation in the metabolic programming that promotes non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma. Regulation of hepatic glucose formation during acute exercise and in response to habitual exercise.