Every cell in the body has the same genetic instructions. During the process called “differentiation” stem cells can turn on specific sets of genes to allow them to become a particular and distinct type of tissue. Scientists are currently trying to understand how the process of cell differentiation is coordinated at the molecular level. Our lab focuses on how fat cells are formed and are specifically interested in defining how stem cells can give rise to fat cells. We study PPARgamma, a key protein discovered in the mid nineties, as a central orchestrator of adipocyte formation, and focus on the identification of novel regulators that turn this factor on or off. The goal of these studies is to ultimately identify the molecular triggers and mechanisms that control fat depots formation and expansion during development and in response to nutritional stimuli.