Naoki Yamanaka, Ph.D.

Title
Assistant Professor
Department
Entomology
Institution
University of California, Riverside
Address
900 University Ave.
City, State, Zip
Riverside, CA 92521
Phone
(951) 827-5253
E-mail
naoki.yamanaka[at]ucr.edu
Website
www.yamanakalab.com
Research Field
Endocrinology
Award Year
2017

Research

My research group plans to identify chemicals that interrupt the entry of steroid hormones into cells. To exert their biological effects on metabolism, immunity, or sexual maturation, steroid hormones must find their way into the appropriate cells. According to most textbooks, these chemicals simply slip across the cell membrane with no help from the sort of cell-surface transporters that import other hormones. But our lab recently discovered a transporter in fruit flies that transports the steroid responsible for molting into the insects’ cells. Using state-of-the-art techniques in genetics, cell and molecular biology, and chemical screening, my team will search for similar steroid transporters in mammalian cells, ascertain whether these transporters are essential for hormone activity, and isolate molecules that can modulate hormone uptake. These findings would transform our understanding of steroid biology and could point the way to novel means of manipulating a variety of steroid-related processes ranging from sexual maturation to immune responses and cancer progression.