Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Seale Lab

  • Oil Red O-stained cultured human adipocytes

    Cultured human adipocytes (Oil Red O, red)

  • Bodipy-stained 3D-cultured primary human adipocytes

    3D-cultured primary human adipocytes (Bodipy, green)

  • Mouse inguinal fat, H&E

    Mouse inguinal fat (H&E)

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  • Institute for Diabetes, Obesity & Metabolism sign


Our laboratory is located at the University of Pennsylvania / Perelman School of Medicine in the Institute for Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism (IDOM) and the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology.

UCP1 IHC staining of beige adipocytes in a white adipose depot
UCP1 IHC staining (brown) of beige adipocytes in a white adipose depot

There are three major types of adipose cells (white, brown, beige) that have differing effects on energy balance and metabolism. White adipose tissue is specialized for storing excess energy (as triglyceride) after eating and releasing energy between meals and in times of nutrient deprivation. Conversely, brown ("thermogenic") adipose tissue burns carbohydrates and fats to produce heat. Beige fat cells have similarities to brown fat cells but arise within white fat tissue. We are interested adipose biology because of the important roles that fat cells play in human health, in healthy individuals and at the onset of insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancers associated with obesity.

Lipid droplets in cultured mouse adipocytes stained red with Oil Red O
Lipid droplets (red) in cultured mouse adipocytes stained with Oil Red O

Our research aims to understand the pathways controlling the development and function of adipocytes (fat cells). Over the past several years, we have identified genes critical for specifying thermogenic adipose fate and have purified the precursor populations from which these adipocytes descend. We are using new technologies such as single cell RNA sequencing, unbiased functional genomics, in vivo metabolomics, and heterologous cell transplantation in addition to traditional molecular techniques.  The experiments we are doing are providing insights into how adipocyte fate and function are modulated during growth and disease.

Please check out more details about specific current projects in the lab.



[2023-08-23] Seoyoung Jun's paper "Control of murine brown adipocyte development by GATA6" has been published by Developmental Cell.

[2023-06-01] Nick Williams has joined the Seale lab for his Ph.D. studies!

[2023-05-15] Graduation day for Corey Holman, Ph.D. and Emily Tu, B.Sc.!

[2023-03-24] Corey Holman defended her Ph.D. thesis. Congratulations Dr. Holman!

[2023-03-23] Corey Holman's preprint "Aging impairs cold-induced beige adipogenesis and adipocyte metabolic reprogramming" is online at bioRxiv.