Michael Cowley is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and the Center for Human Health and the Environment at North Carolina State University. The overall goal of his research program is to understand how exposure to environmental stressors during development perturbs imprinted genes – defined by their expression from only one parental allele – to program susceptibility to metabolic disease. The aims of his program are to determine: 1) the epigenetic and molecular mechanisms that modulate imprinted gene activity in response to the developmental environment; and 2) the functional consequences of these changes for metabolic health and disease. He integrates data from mouse and tissue culture models as well as human clinical samples to address these questions. Recently, the Cowley Lab has identified a novel function for imprinted genes in programming non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in response to an adverse developmental environment, and ongoing work aims to determine the underlying epigenetic and molecular mechanisms.
Relevance of Research to CGIBD Mission: The focus of the Cowley Lab on epigenetic and molecular mechanisms of liver damage in response to environmental stress supports the Center’s primary research theme of Homeostasis, Injury and Repair.
CGIBD Focus Area(s): regenerative medicine/repair
Pilot and Feasibility Award 2019