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NORC News

Wende honored as one of inaugural Pittman Scholars

February 15, 2015

Adam R. Wende, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Pathology and Nutrition Obesity Research Center (NORC), has been selected as one of an esteemed group of inaugural Pittman Scholars in the UAB School of Medicine (SOM). Funding from this distinction—created to honor James A. Pittman, Jr., MD, the longest-serving dean in the SOM’s history, who is remembered as a lively and energetic teacher and mentor of students and faculty—will be awarded each year for five years to support research-related activities or scholarly enrichment.

Dr. Wende’s research interests include mechanisms of glucose-mediated regulation of gene expression and molecular function. With the growing incidence of obesity, diabetes, and the resulting heart disease his work seeks to define the role of metabolite signaling to regulate mitochondrial substrate switching in the hearts of individuals with diabetes. Specifically, his NIH-funded research is to determine post-translational regulation of mitochondrial enzymes by O-GlcNAcylation as well as the impact glucose has on epigenetic regulation through altered chromatin structure and DNA methylation. Combined these studies suggest that the altered nutrient environment has both an immediate impact on metabolism as well as long-lasting epigenetic regulation of gene expression in a process termed “glycemic memory.” By defining these molecular signatures of altered protein regulation and DNA structure/regulation, Dr. Wende aims to provide critical knowledge to determining future therapeutic interventions for patients predisposed to heart disease by metabolic disease.