Sexton Lab Research Description:

The Sexton lab focuses primarily on phenotypic-based drug discovery and development for the interrelated set of disorders involving diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome and associated complications.  This means that we use functional outcomes of tissues and cells to guide our drug discovery around metabolic endpoints.  Our current strategy for drug development uses a combination of phenotypic and molecular target driven approaches with core competencies in pancreatic islet technologies, fatty liver disease, and metabolic regulation in muscle tissue coupled with in vivo models of diabetes and obesity . Our main technology focus is high content screening - an automated epifluorescence microscopy approach to biological imaging coupled with image analysis to yield quantitative and clinically-relevant endpoints in cellular models of disease. 

Active projects for the following target tissues are:

Liver –

Discovery of small molecules to treat non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and progression to fibrosis/NASH

Controlling hepatic metabolism for fuel-switching

Automated quantitative histomorphometry for scoring of NAFLD

Pancreas –

Beta cell regeneration for type-1 and -2 diabetes

Chemoprotection of islet tissue during transplantation

Skeletal Muscle –

Discovery of small molecules that can re-sensitize muscle tissue to insulin

Satellite stem cell proliferation for controlling muscle phenotype for T2D