Identification of new pathways controlling energy metabolism

 In the past decade, our understanding of our endocrine system has vastly evolved, leading to the recognition of novel molecules with endocrine functions from organs that were not previously considered to be part of the classical endocrine system. Our lab uses an integrated approach of genomics, proteomics and physiology to identify and study new hormones and their pathways.

Our goals are to discover new molecular pathways of metabolic disease and to develop therapeutics targeting pathways in energy metabolism. Finding new pathways is important from a biological perspective to increase the understanding of complex regulation of physiology, but also offers opportunities for translation into protein therapeutics and biomarkers.

Identification of novel insulin-independent pathways to increase glucose uptake

Screen Shot 2019-05-04 at 9.41.28 PM.png

New pathways and targets that can directly regulate glucose, hepatic triglycerides and gluconeogenesis independently of insulin are essential for the development of drugs for type 2 diabetes.

Isthmin-1 is a novel protein hormone secreted from adipocytes that acts independently of insulin to increase glucose uptake. We are currently studying how Isthmin-1 acts to improve metabolic homeostasis using mouse models of obesity and diabetes.

Understanding the transition from non-alcoholic fatty liver (NAFLD) to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)

3w4_20x 3 copy.jpg

A liver in the transition from healthy to fatty liver and subsequently to NASH undergoes major re-arrangements of hepatocytes and non-hepatocyte cells in the liver. A better understanding of this process is needed for the development of drugs for this disease that currently has no approved treatment.

We are developing innovative model systems that will enable the study of the biology of NASH, which will provide unprecedented opportunities for novel therapies.

Development of a biomarker footprint for NAFLD and NASH


There are no early biomarkers for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD or NASH). The goal of this project is to identify biomarkers of early insulin resistance and hepatic steatosis as an alternative to invasive liver biopsies to diagnose or monitor treatment response.

Mechanistic insights into the metabolic role of Slit2-C in glucose and energy homeostasis

S2C fig.jpg

Activation of brown and beige adipose tissue has emerged as a potential strategy to treat metabolic disease. We have previously identified a fragment of a secreted factor called Slit2-C that is secreted from thermogenic adipose tissue (Svensson et al, Cell Metab, 2016). Current studies are focusing on characterizing the molecular mechanisms of action by protein therapeutic approaches, as well as identifying the Slit2-C receptor on adipocytes.


The Svensson Lab is grateful for past and present support from the following sources: