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Molecular Medicine


Enrique Saez, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Department of Molecular Medicine
California Campus
Laboratory Website
(858) 784-7305

Scripps Research Joint Appointments

Department of Cell and Molecular Biology
Faculty, Graduate Program

Research Focus

Our lab is interested in two broad themes related to the regulation of energy balance in mammals: Nuclear receptors as nutrient sensors - Nuclear receptors are ligand-activated transcription factors that sense dietary components such as lipids, vitamins and cholesterol derivatives. We are interested in identifying novel nutrient signaling pathways that involve nuclear receptors. Using high-throughput cell based and biochemical screens as well as a variety of animal models we hope to discover diet-derived physiological signaling pathways. Genetic regulation of energy storage - Excess energy is stored in adipose tissue. We are using genomic and chemical approaches to identify novel genetic regulators of adipose tissue formation and to examine their role in metabolic disease. By enhancing our understanding of how diet influences gene expression and the genetic regulation of energy balance, we aim to uncover novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of metabolic diseases such as obesity and diabetes.


Ph.D., Genetics, Harvard University, 1995
A.B., Molecular Biology, Princeton University, 1989

Awards & Professional Activities

1986-1989 The Allen Williamson Talley Memorial Scholarship, Princeton University
1989-1990 Richard B. Carter Trust Fellowship, Harvard University
1995-1996 American Diabetes Association Postdoctoral Fellowship
1997-2000 Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship
2008-2013 American Diabetes Association Career Development Award

Selected References

Parker, C.G., Galmozzi, A., Wang, Y., Correia, B.E., Sasaki, K., Joslyn, C.M., Kim, A.S., Cavallaro, C.L., Lawrence, M., Johnson, S.R., Narvaiza, I., Saez, E.*, Cravatt, B.F.* 2017. Ligand and Target Discovery by Fragment-Based Screening in Human Cells. Cell 168:1-15. (*co-corresponding authors).

Parsons, W.H., Kolar, M.J., Kamat, S.S., Cognetta, A.B., Hulce, J.J., Saez, E., Khan, B., Saghatelian, A. and B.F. Cravatt. 2016. AIG1 and ADTRP are atypical integral membrane hydrolases that degrade bioactive FAHFAs. Nature Chemical Biology 12:367-72. 

Chen, W., Dong, J., Plate, L., Mortenson, D.E., Brighty, G.J., Li, S., Liu, Y., Galmozzi, A., Lee, P.S., Hulce, J., Cravatt, B.F., Saez, E., Powers, E.T., Wilson, I.A., Sharpless, K.B., and J.W. Kelly. 2016. Arylfluorosulfates Inactivate Intracellular Lipid Binding Protein(s) through Chemoselective SuFEx Reaction with a Binding Site Tyr Residue. Journal American Chemical Society 138:7353-64. 

Dominguez, E., Galmozzi, A., CHang, J.W., Hsu, K., Pawlak, J., Li, W., Godio, C., Thomas, J., Partida, D., Niessen, S., O'Brien, P.E., Russell, A.P., Watt, M.J., Nomira, D.K., Cravatt, B.F. and E. Saez. 2014. Integrated phenotypic and activity-based profiling links Ces3 to obesity and diabetes. Nature Chemical Biology 10:113-121.

Galmozzi, A., Sonne, S.B., Keylin, S., Luijten, I., Chang, J.W., Sharp, L.Z., Cravatt, B.F., Saez, E.* and S. Kajimura.* 2014. ThermoMouse: an in vivo model to identify modulators of UCP1 expression in brown adipose tissue. Cell Reports 9:1584-93. (*co-corresponding authors)

Villanueva, C., Vergnes, L., Wang, J., Drew, B., Hong, C., Tu, Y., Hu, Y., Peng, X., Xu, P., Saez, E., Hevener, A., Reue, K., Loren Fong, L., Young, S. and P. Tontonoz. 2013. Adipose subtype-selective recruitment of TLE3 or Prdm16 by PPARγ specifies lipid-storage versus thermogenic gene programs. Cell Metabolism, 17:423–435.

Galmozzi, A., Mitro, N., Ferrari, A., Gers, E., Gilardi, F., Godio, C., Cermenati, G., Gualerzi, A., Donetti, E., Rotili, D., Valente, S., Guerrini, U., Caruso, D., Mai, A., Saez, E., De Fabiani, E. and M. Crestani. 2013. Inhibition of Class I Histone Deacetylases Unveils a Mitochondrial Signature and Enhances Oxidative Metabolism in Skeletal Muscle and Adipose Tissue. Diabetes, 62:732-42. 

Jain, T., Papas, A., Jadhav, A. and E. Saez. 2012. In situ electroporation of surface-bound siRNAs in microwell arrays. Lab on a Chip, 12: 939-47.

Cermenati, G., Abbiati, F., Cermenati, S., Brioschi, E., Volonterio, A., Cavaletti, G., Saez, E., De Fabiani, E., Crestani, M., Garcia-Segura, L., Melcangi, R.C., Caruso, D. and Nico Mitro. 2012. Diabetes induced myelin abnormalities are associated with an altered lipid pattern: protective effects of LXR activation. Journal of Lipid Research, 53:300-10.

Villanueva, C.J., Waki, H., Godio, C., Nielsen, R., Chou, W.-L., Vargas, L., Wrobleski, K., Schemdt, C., Chao, L. C., Boyadjian, R., Mandrup, S., Hevener, S., Saez, E. and P. Tontonoz. 2011. TLE3 is a dual function transcriptional coregulator of adipogenesis. Cell Metabolism 3:413-27. (co-corresponding authors).

Mitro, N., Mak, P., Vargas, L., Godio, C., Hampton, E., Molteni, V., Kresuch, A. and Saez, E. The nuclear receptor LXR is a glucose sensor. Nature 2007, 445: 219-23.

Waki, H., Park, K.W., Mitro, N., Pei, L., Damoiseaux, R., Wilpitz, D.C., Reue, K., Saez, E. and P. Tontonoz. The Small Molecule Harmine Is an Antidiabetic Cell-Type-Specific Regulator of PPARγ Expression. Cell Metabolism 2007, 5: 357-70.

Commerford, S.R., Vargas, L., Dorfman, S.E., Mak, P.A., Rocheford, E.C., Mitro, N., Li, X., Kennedy, P., Mullarkey, T.L. and E. Saez. 2007. Dissection of the anti-diabetic effect of Liver X Receptor ligands. Molecular Endocrinology 12: 3002-12.

Molecular Medicine Seminar Series
Center for Physiological Proteomics
Department Contacts

CA Faculty

Asahara, Hiroshi
Balch, William E.
Boddy, Michael
Buxbaum, Joel
Catz, Sergio
Conti, Bruno
Cravatt, Benjamin
D'Lima, Darryl
DerMardirossian, Celine
Deryugina, Elena
Elias, Darlene
Encalada, Sandra
Felding, Brunhilde
Fowler, Velia
Friedlander, Martin
Gerace, Larry
Gottesfeld, Joel
Griffin, John
Hanneken, Anne
Heeb, Mary Jo
Henderson, Scott
Hoch, James
Johnson, Eric
Kanaji, Taisuke
Koziol, James
Lamia, Katja
Lipton, Stuart
Loring, Jeanne F.
Loskutoff, David
Lotz, Martin
Makarenkova, Helen P.
Mc Millan, Robert
Miles, Lindsey
Milner, Richard
Modena, Brian
Mosnier, Laurent
Nicholson, Laura
Paulson, James C.
Perego, Marta
Petrascheck, Michael
Pollard, Kenneth Michael
Quigley, James P.
Reed, Steven
Roberts, Edward
Rosen, Hugh
Ruggeri, Zaverio
Russell, Paul
Saez, Enrique
Smider, Vaughn
Srinivasan, Supriya
Steinhubl, Steven
Sutcliffe, J.
Tan, Eng
Topol, Eric
Vanderklish, Peter
Vogt, Peter K.
Wiseman, Luke
Wittenberg, Curt
Wolan, Dennis W.
Wu, Peng
Wu, Xiaohua
Yang, Xiang-Lei
Yates III, John

FL Faculty

Bannister, Thomas
Bohn, Laura M.
Cameron, Michael
Duckett, Derek
Gill, Matt
Griffin, Patrick
Hansen, Scott
Joazeiro, Claudio
Kamenecka, Theodore
Kissil, Joseph
Luo, Junli
McDonald, Patricia
Miller, Courtney
Niedernhofer, Laura
Phinney, Donald G.
Robbins, Paul
Scampavia, Louis
Schimmel, Paul
Smith, Roy
Spicer, Timothy

Affiliated Faculty

Cline, Hollis
Kojetin, Douglas
Lairson, Luke
Paegel, Brian
Rumbaugh, Gavin
Shen, Ben
Solt, Laura A
Su, Andrew
Wu, Chunlei
Ye, Li

Adjunct Faculty