Department of Zoology

Haifei Shi
Assistant Professor
Ph.D. Georgia State Univ., 2004

256 PSN

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Office Hours:
  Monday . . . . 2:00 - 4:00
  Tuesday . . . .
  Wednesday . .
  Thursday. . . .
  Friday. . . . . . Others by appt.

Biographical Information:

Obesity is a major health problem exacerbating many other disorders and is a health risk in its own right. Our research focuses on the neural and hormonal control of energy balance, and the mechanisms of pathological conditions of energy balance such as obesity.

1. Sexual dimorphism in the regulation of energy balance: We utilize caloric restriction and surgical lipectomy, or high-fat diet feeding and fat transplantation as models to investigate sexually dimorphic responses to fat loss or fat gain. These different approaches allow us to assess parameters in animals with comparable motivation to gain or decrease weight but quite different physiology. Males and females adopt fundamentally different strategies to maintain energy balance. This is an important issue for understanding and treating obesity and has received too little scientific attention. We will investigate the CNS mechanisms responsible for these profound sex differences.

2. Contribution of various fat depots to glucose homeostasis: Energy is predominately stored as lipid in white fat, and fat from different anatomical locations has been implicated in different metabolic effects. A wide range of data points to a more important role of intra-abdominal fat to contribute to impairments of glucose regulation including type II diabetes whereas subcutaneous fat plays a protective role. We will identify the individual contribution of specific fat depots to glucose homeostasis in male and female mice and rats maintained on chow or high-fat diets with different fatty acids; the contribution of adipose tissue to the glucose homeostasis using within or between subjects fat transplantation approach. Students in my laboratory use behavioral, physiological, molecular and biochemical techniques in their research, including monitoring food intake and energy expenditure; assessment of glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity; hormone assays; western blot analysis and qRT-PCR.

Courses Taught:

  1. Animal Physiology (ZOO 305)

Recent Publications:

  1. H Shi, S Akunuru, JC Bierman, KM Hodge, C Mitchell, MT Foster, RJ Seeley, O Reizes (2009). Diet-induced obese mice are glucose tolerant and leptin sensitive after weight reduction. Obesity (Silver Spring). 17(9):1702-9

  2. H Shi, RJ Seeley, DJ Clegg (2009). Sexual differences in the control of energy homeostasis. Front. Neuroendocrin. 30(3):396-404.

  3. H Shi, AD Strader, JE Sorrell, JB Chambers, SC Woods, RJ Seeley (2008). Sexually different actions of leptin in proopiomelanocortin neurons to regulate glucose homeostasis. Am. J. Physiol. Endocrinol Metab. 294(3):E630-9.

  4. H Shi, AD Strader, SC Woods, RJ Seeley (2007). The effect of fat removal on glucose tolerance is depot specific in male and female mice. Am. J. Physiol. Endocrinol Metab. 293(4):E1012-20.

  5. H Shi, AD Strader, SC Woods, RJ Seeley (2007). Sexually dimorphic responses to fat loss after caloric restriction or surgical lipectomy. Am. J. Physiol. Endocrinol Metab 293(1):E316-26.