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Carol Renfrew Haft, Ph.D.

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Adipocyte development and biology in various fat depots; protein trafficking, secretion, processing and ER stress in metabolic disease

Responsibilities & Activities

As a senior advisor for cell biology, I am responsible for managing a research portfolio focused on fundamental cell processes such as endoplasmic reticulum stress, the unfolded protein response (UPR), as well as protein secretion, mis-folding and mis-processing in cells of metabolic tissues. I also serve as director for the Adipocyte Biology program and manage a portfolio of grants that focus on the life cycle of adipocytes and on fat tissue biology. The program includes studies of the development, maintenance, plasticity and turnover of different types of adipocytes (white, brown, beige and marrow fat cells); lipid droplet biogenesis and signaling; regulation of fatty acid turnover and storage; adipokine generation and secretion; the role of immune cells, endothelial cells, extracellular matrix components and cells of the stroma in determining the metabolic properties of different fat depot and in each depot’s response to excess nutrients and signals from other tissues; and the regulation of thermogenesis. Studies in model organisms, rodents, human cells, human subjects as well as bioengineered materials are welcomed.

I coordinate the Division’s NIDDK Advisory Council activities and work with other units in the NIDDK to coordinate the Division’s expenditure of funds. I participate in several NIDDK working groups, including those focused on obesity, translation, council operations, and training and career development.

Research Programs

Endocrinology & Hormone Signaling
Endocrinology, neuroendocrinology, hormone signaling, nutrient sensing, the Hypothalamic-Pituitary- Axis, and bone metabolism.

Genetic Metabolic Disease
Basic and clinical studies on the pathophysiology and treatment of inborn errors of metabolism and rare genetic metabolic diseases.

Metabolic Pathways
Studies on the pathways that are involved in intermediary metabolism as they impact endocrine and metabolic diseases.

Metabolism, Energy Balance & Obesity
Basic and clinical studies related to energy balance and physiological mechanisms modulating weight gain, loss and maintenance.