Dr. Miriam Jacome-Sosa joined the Department of Medicine as an Instructor in the Geriatrics and Nutritional Science Division in November, 2018.
She obtained a PhD in Nutrition and Metabolism from the University of Alberta in Canada. Her work involved targeted lipidomics and integrative physiological approaches to investigate the effects of natural trans fat intake on lipid and whole body metabolism in animal models of prediabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Her postdoctoral experience spans a breadth of clinical and basic approaches to identify the underlying mechanisms contributing to the development of chronic diseases. Following the completion of her doctoral degree in 2013, she started a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Missouri School of Medicine where she employed quantitative stable isotope techniques to study metabolism in humans. She designed and established tightly controlled-feeding methods and quantified kinetics of food absorption following sequential meals. Her work identified a role for leptin in lipid droplet formation in the intestine, demonstrating that the net effect for increased intestinal storage is to reduce fat absorption throughout the day, while this process is dysregulated in insulin-resistant individuals. Findings from this work support an important link between hormonal regulation of absorption and the onset of hyperlipidemia.
In 2016, Dr. Jacome-Sosa accepted a postdoctoral research associate position in the Center for Human Nutrition, School of Medicine at Washington University in St. Louis. Here, her focus is to investigate the role and systemic impact of the membrane protein CD36 on gut nutrient sensing, gastric function and inflammation. CD36 facilitates cellular fat uptake and signaling and is important for many aspects of fat metabolism including fat taste perception, fat absorption and clearance, secretion of regulatory gut peptides and lipid-derived bioactive molecules with a range of metabolic effects. CD36 gene variants associate with abnormalities of fat metabolism and influence risk of metabolic diseases. Her work entails the generation and characterization of mouse models where the protein has been selectively deleted from specific cells in the vagus nerve, the stomach, or from vascular cells. Her findings so far have been quite exciting, as she has observed an important role of CD36 in neuronal cells of the vagus nerve in regulating systemic glucose metabolism, intestinal fat absorption and inflammation. She plans to investigate the underlying cellular and physiological mechanisms for these effects. She has also found striking effects of CD36 deletion in the stomach including changes in overall stomach morphology and function and she is interested in exploring how these changes impact disease etiology for example as related to gastric ulcer and cancer and other gastrointestinal pathologies often present in obesity, type 2 diabetes and aging. Her ultimate goal is to successfully compete for extramural funding that could further advance her new, independent research program and contribute to the development of medical science.