U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Metabolic Diseases Branch

Lee S. Weinstein, M.D., Chief

​About the Lab/Branch

The Metabolic Diseases Branch studies clinical disorders of calcium metabolism and the role of signaling molecules in the pathogenesis of other disorders such as obesity and diabetes.  Of particular interest are diseases related to the abnormal production or action of parathyroid hormone, a circulating factor that tightly regulates serum calcium levels.

​Current Research

The Branch’s research is primarily focused on two areas:  (1) understanding the clinical genetics and pathogenesis of sporadic and familial forms of primary hyperparathyroidism (tumors of the parathyroid glands that over-secrete parathyroid hormone); and (2) understanding the pathogenesis of human disorders with abnormal hormone action due to defects in G protein signaling molecules and the cellular and physiological functions of G proteins.
 
The Branch’s research will provide important insights into the genetic basis and molecular pathogenesis of tumor formation, particularly endocrine tumors.  It will also provide important insights into the role of G protein signaling pathways involved in regulation of energy balance and glucose metabolism.
 
The Branch’s research will identify:  (1) new genes involved in endocrine tumorigenesis, which will provide new molecular diagnostic tools for the genetic diagnosis of endocrine tumor disorders; (2) molecular mechanisms for endocrine tumor formation, which will identify new molecular targets for treatment; (3) the role of G proteins in hormone resistance disorders; and (4) the roles of signaling molecules such as G proteins in the regulation of energy and glucose metabolism, which may provide new therapeutic targets for obesity and diabetes.