Dennis Chia Lab

The focus of Dr. Chia's research efforts has been on understanding the mechanisms by which growth hormone regulates transcription of insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I). IGF-I has roles in diverse physiological processes, including an essential role in governing longitudinal growth in childhood and adolescence. Working in the laboratory of Dr. Peter Rotwein, he has helped clarify the role of the transcription factor Stat5b in the intracellular signal transduction pathway linking growth hormone binding at the cell surface to IGF-I gene transcription, including establishing the role of putative Stat5b binding sites of the IGF-I gene that may function in this process. Future efforts will address the mechanisms by which Stat5b initiates transcription through interactions with transcriptional co-regulators and the basal transcriptional machinery. Further, he has investigated biochemical properties of a naturally-occurring mutation in Stat5b identified in a patient presenting with profound short stature and growth hormone insensitivity. By characterizing aberrant functions of a mutant Stat5b, he hopes to gain insight into the normal physiology of Stat5b. His long-term research goals are to extend understanding of the underlying biochemical mechanisms contributing to longitudinal growth, with specific focus on the growth hormone-IGF-I axis. In addition, Dr. Chia has also an active clinical research project investigating the early metabolic changes in the development of insulin resistance of obese children and adolescents that predispose them to the metabolic syndrome and Type 2 diabetes mellitus.