Jennifer H Stern

Research Interests

Stern lab research aims to understand the role of glucagon signaling in the pathogenesis of obesity, type II diabetes mellitus, and aging. Glucagon Signaling in Obesity and Type II Diabetes: Insulin resistance and elevated insulin are key to the metabolic disturbances in type II diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Yet, elevated glucagon, common to diabetes, may be equally important in the metabolic abnormalities in T2DM. Dr. Stern has shown that nutritional state differentially affects glucagon secretion in obesity. In turn, the glucagon:insulin ratio is dysregulated in obesity. Current Stern lab research aims to understand the metabolic consequences of a dysregulated glucagon response to fasting and re-feeding. Glucagon Signaling and Aging: More than 25% of the U.S. population greater than 65 years old has Type II diabetes mellitus, representing the highest prevalence of diabetes of any age group. Most research aimed at understanding the consequences of obesity in aging have focused on insulin and downstream signaling cascades, overlooking a potential role for glucagon. Given that many prominent diabetes treatments target glucagon or glucagon signaling pathways, it is essential to understand the role of glucagon in aging. Stern lab research examines 1) the tissue specific effects of glucagon signaling, 2) the role of glucagon signaling in obesity-accelerated aging, and 3) the role of glucagon signaling in healthspan extension promoted by calorie restriction. This work will close a significant gap in our understanding of how glucagon alters aging, while allowing us to assess the potential risks associated with inhibition of glucagon signaling. Other Stern Lab Research Foci: Sleep disturbance and metabolic dysfunction Obesity related cancer development and progression