Department News

Michael Welte Says Lipid Droplets Play Crucial Roles Beyond Fat Storage

August 14, 2018

Lipid droplets: they were long thought of merely as the formless blobs of fat out of which spare tires and muffin tops were made. But these days, they’re “a really hot area of research,” says Michael Welte, professor and chair of biology at the University of Rochester.

That’s in part because lipid droplets have been found to play critical roles in the life cycles of certain proteins involved in gene expression. Now, a study by Welte and his colleagues, published in the journal eLife, describes how lipid droplets regulate these proteins. The research has implications for understanding what helps embryos survive and could cause us to reconsider how we look at lipid-related diseases like obesity.