The Institute Of Human Nutrition

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Faculty & Staff

MS Teaching Faculty

Stephen L. Sturley, Ph.D.Stephen L. Sturley, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Clinical Nutrition



B.Sc., 1980, University of Birmingham, UK
M.Sc., 1981, University of Birmingham, UK
Ph.D., 1985, University of Birmingham, UK

Research Interests

Research in the Sturley laboratory focuses on the regulation of sterol and fatty acid homeostasis in humans which, when aberrant, has profound consequences with regard to manifestation of several disease states including hyperlipidemia, obesity and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease.  The levels of these metabolites are under precise metabolic control because despite their essential nature, they are toxic in excess.  A genetic approach has been applied in the Sturley lab using Saccharomyces cerevisiae (yeast) as a model organism.  The genes encoding the catalytic steps in sterol and diacylglycerol esterification have been identified in yeast, and as a consequence their human counterparts have also been identified.  Each of these processes; the production of steryl ester or triglyceride are significant independent components of diseases such as atherosclerosis and obesity.  The processes of sterol and fatty acids movement within the cell are also under scrutiny by Dr. Sturley's group.  Three transport processes have been characterized at the molecular level in yeast and mammalian cells.  When defective, this leads in one case to the human syndrome, Niemann Pick type C, a lethal cholesterol storage lysosomal disorder, typified by neurodegeneration.

Recent Publications - Pubmed

Turkish, A., Sturley, S.L "The genetics of neutral lipid biosynthesis, an evolutionary perspective". Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. (2008)

Garbarino, J., and Sturley, S.L. Saturated with Fat: New Perspectives on Lipotoxicity. (2009) Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care. 12(2):110-116

Sturley, S.L., Patterson, M.C., Pentchev, P. Unraveling the sterol-trafficking defect in Niemann-Pick C disease. (2009) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA.106(7): 2093–2094

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