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Siobhan Craige Lab

Craige Lab group

The Craige Lab is looking for highly motivated graduate and undergraduate students. If you are interested in applying, please contact Dr. Adele Addington at akadd90@vt.edu.

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.

Current Projects:

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.

Exercise in liver disease:
Regular exercise is one of the most powerful tools to prevent and reverse Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD). NAFLD which is characterized by excessive fat deposition in the liver, affects 20-30 percent of adults in the US and is the most common cause of chronic liver disease worldwide. NAFLD often leads to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) which can result in liver cirrhosis or cancer and is predicted to be the leading cause for liver transplantation by 2030. In collaboration with the laboratory of Dr. Myriam Aouadi at Karolinska Institute, we are currently investigating liver ROS signaling and the mitigation of liver disease with exercise. Knowledge about the protective mechanisms activated by exercise will be key in developing strategies that prevent not only NAFLD, but multiple other chronic 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.

in the lab

The Craige Lab is looking for graduate and undergraduate students. If you are interested in applying, please contact Siobhan Craige at craigesm@vt.edu.