Derek Lin

Derek Lin headshotName: Te-Yueh (Derek) Lin
Hometown: Taichung, Taiwan
Degree pursuing: Nutrition Ph.D.
Adviser: Dr. Xiaoli Chen

Research focus

My research mainly focuses on understanding the role of adipose tissue in inflammatory homeostasis and the relations to the pathogenesis of obesity and metabolic diseases. Because obesity has become a public health concern, and the prevalence of obesity in the United States continues to increase. Also, obesity is the core of modern civilization illness, since obesity is closely associated with metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers. During obesity, adipose tissue becomes inflammation and dysfunction; the dysfunctional adipose tissue undergoes significant changes in adipocyte morphology, adipokines secretion, and immune cells composition. In brief, adipose tissue dysfunction is an important contributor to systemic disturbances of metabolism and warrants further research.

How did you become interested in nutrition?

As we know “You are what you eat”, nutrition is an issue closely associated with our lives every day; also, I was a part-time barista as an undergraduate, that led me to my undergraduate research project (which was evaluating the effect of coffee consumption and mineral metabolism) and my interests in nutrition.

Why did you choose the University of Minnesota?

When I was searching labs and programs, I found out I have interests in Xiaoli’s lab and her research topics. As adipose tissue has been revealed as an important endocrine organ which can regulate functions of other tissues, we still do not know much about it (especially the brown adipose tissue).

How does your research tie into the research being done in your adviser's lab?

Adipose tissue not only stores additional energy in obesity (which is a condition of chronic inflammation), it can also secrete multiple adipokines to regulate inflammation. My topic aims to uncover the regulatory role of PTX3 in adipose tissue during inflammation; since PTX3 is a secreted protein which promotes pathogen removal, that means PTX3 secreted from adipose tissue may be a communicator between adipose tissue and other tissues.

Future plans

After finishing my Ph.D., I would like to continue my research in the similar field as a postdoc, simultaneously looking for the opportunities to enter the industry as a scientist.