Congratulations to Garrett Mullins, a Pharmacology graduate student in the Harris laboratory, who recently added to his growing list of accolades the 2014 Robert M. Berne CVRC Outstanding Trainee Award! Garrett will graduate in May 2015, completing the PhD program in just under four years. In this short time, he has received an American Heart Association Predoctoral Fellowship and a number of awards (Robert Haynes Best Predoctoral Talk 2013 and 2014, AACC, Jefferson Trust Big Data, South Eastern Lipid Research Conference, and Society for Young Clinical Laboratorians). Garrett has also published four papers, including a first author paper from his study of the ability of an unknown product of lipolysis to cause mTOR complex dissociation in adipocytes and thus inhibit insulin-stimulated glucose uptake in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA in December of 2014. Among the many glowing comments from faculty on his character, work ethic, leadership, service activities, and other accomplishments, Dr. Thurl Harris notes:
Thanks to the consideration of the Pharmacology department chair, Garrett’s paper was brought to the attention of the university and local news and was the subject of a brief televised segment on NBC29. Garrett’s work has made an important contribution to our understanding of how catabolic signaling can interfere with anabolic processes such as insulin signaling in adipocytes. Furthermore his findings in an ex vivo model of isolated adipocytes have led our laboratory to further important discoveries in whole animal models that have validated his in vitro work and demonstrated that activation of catabolic signaling in adipose tissue can not only inhibit insulin signaling in adipocytes but can impact whole body insulin signaling and induce hyperglycemia.