Barbara Nikolajczyk - T cell function in adipose tissue, role in insulin resistance
The Nikolajczyk lab studies the role of immune cells in obesity and type 2 diabetes. Published work from this lab and others has shown T cell subset imbalance promotes inflammation thus insulin resistance in obesity. New BNORC funded work will test the hypothesis that elevated pro-inflammatory T cell function in blood mirrors T cell function in adipose tissue and predict insulin resistance. Testing this hypothesis will assess the possibility that a simple blood test (T cell subset analysis) can identify the risk of transition from insulin-sensitive to insulin-resistant. The availability of such a test would be a major advancement in the obesity world, thus represents an innovative possibility. BNORC pilot funding is one of the vanishingly few mechanisms available to support such work despite the likelihood that the outcomes will set baseline parameters for the entire human immunometabolism field. Dr. Nikolajczyk is leveraging her immunology expertise to help establish this new branch of study, but interactions with experienced obesity researchers in the BNORC community is absolutely essential towards understanding how project outcomes can be integrated with basic paradigms of basic and clinical obesity research.