Mary Teruel   Assistant Professor of Biochemistry (Interim)

LABORATORY OF DIABETES AND OBESITY SIGNALING: Terminal cell differentiation is crucial for developing, maintaining, and regenerating tissues in all multi-cellular organisms. The overarching focus of the Teruel Lab is to understand how to control terminal differentiation in order to maintain a dynamic balance between progenitor and differentiated cells that ensures healthy tissue development and prevents disease. To tackle this problem, my lab developed a platform to understand adipogenesis (fat cell differentiation) and other differentiation processes based on live and fixed-cell microscopy and analysis tools to simultaneously monitor and perturb signaling, cell cycle, and differentiation processes in thousands of single cells. To validate the relevance of our discoveries, we combine in vitro cell culture, organoid, and in vivo mouse models.

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research overview

  • THE LABORATORY OF DIABETES AND OBESITY SIGNALING

    is led by Dr. Mary Teruel. We study how dynamic stimuli are decoded by cells to guide cell differentiation decisions essential for tissue development, maintenance, and regeneration. Precise decision making is critical in differentiation where decisions often result in an irreversible switch of cell-fate that, if incorrectly made, can have consequences for human health. We are particularly interested in understanding how cell-extrinsic hormones and signaling noise, as well as cell-intrinsic biological oscillators such as the cell cycle and circadian clock, interact to control cell fate. To do so, we have developed live-cell reporters, live single-cell tracking microscopy approaches and algorithms, and microfluidic techniques to introduce dynamic perturbations and measure system behavior with the goal to obtain the measurements needed to develop quantitative models that will allow timing-based therapeutic interventions. Ultimately, we aim 1) to determine the connectivity and dynamic network behavior controlling terminal cell differentiation decisions and 2) to use our understanding to enhance tissue regeneration and to develop timing-based therapies for differentiation-related pathologies in obesity, diabetes, and fat-related cancers.

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full name

  • Mary Teruel

primary email

  • mnt4002@med.cornell.edu