Current Lab Personnel:

Ormond A. MacDougald, Ph.D., Principal Investigator

Ormond MacDougald was recruited to UM in 1996 as an Assistant Professor of Physiology. He is currently the John A Faulkner Chair of Physiology and Professor of Molecular & Integrative Physiology, and Internal Medicine. Ormond’s interests include all aspects of adipose tissue biology, and training the next generation of scientists. Outside work he mainly spends time with his wife and four children but he also likes to woodwork, garden, and make music.

Ormond's curriculum vitae

Hiroyuki Mori, Research Investigator

My scientific career has focused on negative regulators of pathways relevant to diabetes and obesity. I have studied physiological and pathological role of each regulatory molecule, using cell and animal models. I graduated from Akita University School of Medicine in Japan and worked as a physician in the field of diabetes and metabolic diseases. I then pursued a graduate research degree and received my Ph.D. from Kyushu University in Japan. My thesis work focused on suppressor of cytokine signaling (SOCS), where we discovered that SOCS3 inhibits IL-6 signaling and regulates leptin receptor signaling in vivo. Subsequently, I was a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Kun-Liang Guan’s laboratory at the University of Michigan, where I studied mTORC1’s role in a variety of cells and tissues, especially the hypothalamus and pancreatic beta cells. Then, I moved to the laboratory of Dr. Ormond MacDougald, where I studied the role of secreted frizzled-related protein 5 (Sfrp5), a negative regulator of WNT, in adipocyte biology using cultured adipocytes and a transgenic mouse model. I am studying the role of WNT11 in obesity-induced adipose tissue hypoxia, and also exploring the role of hypoxia-induced WNT11 in tumor progression.

Ziru Li, Postdoctoral Fellow

In August of 2013, Ziru came to the University of Michigan as a visiting PhD student. After finishing her PhD from Peking University in China in 2014, she came back to U of M as a postdoctoral fellow. Ziru joined the MacDougald lab in 2016, where she is interested in obesity related metabolic disorders. Previously, her research was focused on gut hormones and fatty liver for several years. Ziru is now starting a study on bone marrow adipose, more specificially, the difference between MAT and WAT, their origins, property-differences, and their functional discrepancies. Outside of lab, Ziru loves handcrafting, and practicing yoga.

Ken Lewis, Postdoctoral Fellow

Ken joined the MacDougald lab in January 2018, after completing his Ph.D. in Physiology at Wayne State University studying mechanisms of exocytosis. Ken’s interests in the lab include investigating the role of free fatty acids in regulating adipokine secretion and determining the developmental origins of bone marrow adipocytes. Outside of lab he enjoys wilderness backpacking with his wife and two dogs, sailing, and working on his Willys Jeep.

Becky Schill, Postdoctoral Fellow

Becky joined the MacDougald lab in March 2018, after receiving her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, Wi. Her graduate work focused on the impact of oxidative modification by reactive aldehydes to high-density lipoprotein (HDL)’s function in Reverse Cholesterol Transport. Her current research interests include understanding the role of glucocorticoids on bone marrow adipose tissue expansion following caloric restriction. Outside of lab, Becky enjoys spending time with her husband, new baby and puppy, reading, baking and making fun of her lab-mate, Steven, who totally deserves it.

Romina Uranga, Postdoctoral Fellow

Romina joined the MacDougald lab in September 2021 as a postdoctoral fellow. Romina finished her Ph.D. in Biochemistry at Universidad Nacional del Sur, Bahía Blanca, Argentina, and worked as a researcher of the Argentinian Research Council in the field of neuroscience for several years. Now, Romina is starting a study on Wnt/β-catenin signaling on adipocytes, more specifically, the mechanisms by which Wnt/β-catenin signaling regulates adipocyte gene expression and how the intercellular Wnt signaling between adipocytes and stromal-vascular cells monitors adipose tissue functioning. Outside work, Romina spends time with her husband and two children but she also likes reading, and strength training.

Jessica Maung, graduate Student

Jess joined the MacDougald lab in May 2021, after receiving her B.S. in Biochemistry from Union College and working as a research technician at Oregon Health and Science University. Jess’s interests in the lab include understanding mechanisms of adipocyte loss in familial partial lipodystrophy 2 (FPLD2), caused by mutations in the nuclear lamina protein, lamin A/C. Outside of the lab, Jess enjoys camping, tennis, food photography, and practicing Indonesian.

Akira Nishii, Undergraduate Student

Akira is an undergraduate student studying Chemical Engineering and Cell and Molecular Biology. He is studying the effect of temperature on lipid desaturation in adipocytes under the mentorship of Dr. Hiro Mori. Outside of school and lab, Akira enjoys soccer, karate, and astrophotography.

Lab Alumni:


18 Postdoctoral Fellows

18 Graduate Students

6 Visiting Scientists

1 Co-mentored Postdoctoral Fellow and 9 co-mentored Graduate Students

40 Graduate Student Rotations

66 Undergraduate, Medical and High School students who did research projects in my laboratory

42 Preliminary examination committees

74 Graduate dissertation committees

4 External counselor for graduate students

11 Scientific and Advisory Committees: K awards, T32, Faculty launch committees, etc.

Pass Members