Sheila Collins, Ph.D., recently joined Sanford-Burnham at Lake Nona as a professor in the Metabolic Signaling and Disease program. Her lab is interested in fat metabolism. Until the mid-1990s, adipose (fat) tissue had been largely considered an inert storage depot for excess metabolic fuel, much like a savings bank. There is now a better understanding of how fat cells secrete key hormones that play help regulate body weight and insulin sensitivity.
The Collins laboratory studies how fat cells control energy storage and release through adrenaline receptors, focusing on the protein signaling machinery that relays the adrenaline signal. In addition to understanding the mechanism for releasing fatty acids from adipose tissue, her lab also studies how fat cells called brown adipocytes burn caloric energy instead of storing it.
Dr. Collins received her doctorate in biochemistry and drug metabolism from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and conducted postdoctoral research in the lab of National Academy of Science member Robert Lefkowitz at Duke University. Dr. Collins continued her research career as a faculty member at Duke University Medical Center and more recently was also a Senior Investigator and the Hamner Senior Fellow in Endocrine Biology at The Hamner Institute in North Carolina.
To learn more about Dr. Collin’s work, check out this article in The Orlando Sentinel.