Soonkyu ChungAssociate Professor
2010-2013 Assistant Professor, Food Science and Human Nutrition, University of Florida
2006-2010 Postdoctoral fellow, Pathology, Wake Forest Medical Center
2006 Ph.D. Molecular Nutrition, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
1995 M.S. Applied Biological Chemistry, Seoul National University, Seoul Korea
Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. My research addresses this growing challenge posed by the epidemic of obesity to health by investigating the function of dietary bioactive molecules to reduce the prevalence of obesity and metabolic syndrome. In particular, my research focuses on brown/beige adipocytes, energy-releasing fat cells in contrast to energy-accumulating white fat cells, as a therapeutic target to counteract obesity. My current research program can be divided into four parts: 1) elucidation of the underlying mechanism beta-3 adrenergic receptor activation induces white-to-beige adipocyte conversion, 2) development of metabolically active and transplantable brown fat pad from the inducible pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) to treat type 2 diabetes, 3) epigenetic regulation of fetal brown fat development via maternal omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) intake, and 4) epigenetic regulation of hypertrophic obesity and type 2 diabetes by dietary ellagic acid and its gut-derived metabolites.