Press Releases

For Immediate Release
September 24, 2015

For more information, contact
John Follaco
(585) 395-5159

Brockport Biology Professor receives NSF Grant to Fight Obesity

National Science Foundation Grant will be used to further research on hormone that triggers appetite and fat storage

BROCKPORT, NYLaurie Cook, Ph.D., an associate professor of biology, has been awarded a grant of $404,345 from the National Science Foundation. The grant will be used to further her research involving melanin-concentrating hormone, MCH, and its effects on the maturation process of fat cells.

MCH signaling triggers appetite, and it is also suspected in driving the transformation of fat cell precursors to mature fat cells. With the grant, Cook hopes to find how sensitive fat cells are to MCH, by studying fat cell size and number, changes in gene expression, and cellular localization of proteins. She will also study how sensitivity of fat cells to MCH changes as they mature.

“We are hoping to determine whether or not MCH could fix someone’s overstimulated appetite to either cure or treat obesity,” Cook said.

The grant also funds summer research opportunities for two undergraduate students and one graduate student each year for three years. The students will be given the opportunity to present their findings at national conferences with Cook as part of their experience. Cook, who also serves as Brockport’s assistant to the provost for applied learning, believes these types of opportunities are invaluable for students.

“That kind of research experience is unlike any other that we can give our students here at Brockport,” Cook said. “Ninety-five percent of the students who have worked in my lab over the years have been placed in graduate school, medical school, or lab technician positions.”

Story written by College Communications Intern Rachel San Giacomo

The College at Brockport, State University of New York
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