Siobhan Craige Lab
Joining the Craige Lab
The Craige Lab continually seeks highly motivated graduate and undergraduate students to join our team. While positions for undergraduates may be limited and often filled quickly, we always welcome inquiries from passionate individuals.
- Undergraduate Students: Contact Dr. Adele Addington at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Graduate Students: Contact Dr. Siobhan Craige at email@example.com.
Craige Lab Research
The major focus of our research is understanding how cells/tissues communicate with each other to sense and respond to environmental changes (e.g., diet, exercise, disease, etc.). While diet and exercise are known to play a significant role in cardiometabolic diseases, the molecular signaling underpinning their influence is only beginning to come to light.
For all organisms that live in aerobic conditions, reactive oxygen species (ROS) are continuously produced. ROS can damage biological macromolecules such as proteins, lipids, DNA, and RNA; however, in discrete times and places, a localized increase in ROS production serves as an immediate signal to adapt to environmental changes. We aim to elucidate the mechanisms by which diet and exercise influence ROS signaling and result in either promotion or prevention of cardiometabolic diseases.
Our laboratory has identified a critical role for reactive oxygen species (ROS) signaling in both adaptive and maladaptive responses to diet and exercise. Understanding these molecular pathways will pave the way for targeted therapies in cardiometabolic disease.
Exercise promotes beneficial metabolic adaptation in skeletal muscle:
Skeletal muscle adaptation to exercise results in improved muscle health, enhanced whole-body metabolism, and protection/reversal of a myriad of chronic diseases (better than medicine!). In particular, exercise has a profound effect on mitochondrial remodeling and metabolism. In collaboration with the Drake Lab, we are investigating the role of ROS in mitochondrial remodeling and the inter-tissue crosstalk initiated by ROS produced after exercise. Elucidating the molecular mechanisms that require ROS for metabolic adaptation to exercise will be critical for developing strategies to mitigate skeletal muscle and cardiometabolic diseases.
ROS in bone metabolism:
Bone fragility fracture is an overlooked complication affecting the quality of life in patients with metabolic diseases and it is often associated with higher accumulation of bone marrow adipose tissue (BMAT). The Craige Lab, in collaboration with the laboratory of Dr. Michaela Tencerova at the Institute of Physiology of the Czech Academy of Sciences, is currently investigating the role of ROS in predisposing stem cells residing within the bone marrow to become fat cells (BMAT) in the context of diet-induced obesity.
CraigeLab Undergraduate Research and Leadership Series (CURLS)
Our lab is passionate about integrating undergraduate students into our research program. However, we are a basic science lab, which means that there are significant limitations to the number of students we can train, as hands-on experiments require considerable training and hours in the lab.
To address these limitations, we created a student-led training paradigm that utilizes a new project management strategy (KanBan/Agile) to scale up our undergraduate research lab experience and exponentially increase the number of undergraduates participating in our research program over time.
Thus, with funding from the VT Office of Undergraduate Research, we created “CURLS: the CraigeLab Undergraduate Research and Leadership Series”. The goals of our program are to 1) train undergraduate students to think like scientists, 2) provide leadership training such that this year’s participants will become the next year’s team leaders, and 3) instill a learning and growth mindset in our students.
We accomplish this through weekly group meetings with an emphasis on scientific communication and scientific literature review, technical training, and group discussion of in-lab accomplishments and roadblocks, with the goal of collaborative problem-solving and acquisition of leadership skills.
Our program offers many benefits to our students, including receiving wet lab experience, conducting authentic and meaningful research, learning to think like a scientist, working as a team, developing and tracking personal learning and growth by using a skills matrix, and receiving guidance and mentoring from more senior members of the Craige Lab. Data generated from CURLS investigations will be presented at undergraduate research poster sessions and we hope to use the students’ data in future scientific publications.