Program Details, Rationale, and Goals

Integrative Lipid Metabolism, Inflammation, and Chronic Diseases


Disturbances in lipid metabolism and inflammation are central to the pathogenesis of many chronic diseases including atherosclerosis, lupus, asthma, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity, hepatosteatosis, end-stage renal disease, and cancer, but there are no NHLBI predoctoral training programs that focus on lipid sciences in the pathogenesis and treatment of chronic diseases. This training program has 11 mentors, with diverse backgrounds and expertise, who have primary academic appointments in five departments.

This training program has resulted from the natural on-going collaboration of a number of established investigators who have been assembled onto one floor of a state-of-the-art research building on the downtown campus of the Wake Forest School of Medicine. Mentors have a common research interest in the role of lipid metabolism in the pathogenesis of chronic diseases that continue to be among the leading causes of death and morbidity of U.S. citizens. Many mentors are currently collaborating with at least one other mentor and are principal investigators on NIH grants and/or project leaders on Program Project or Center grants.

Training will involve and integrated, multidisciplanary approach that uses molecular, cellular, and whole animal experimentation. Training for students will include rigorous didactic courses, departmental seminars, journal clubs, Lipid Sciences Research seminars, Botanical Center meetings, responsibile conduct of research and professional development training, participation in cutting-edge research projects, grant writing, scientific presentations at regional and national meetings and organization of an annual Lipid Sciences Mini-Symposium. All trainees are required to write a pre-doctoral fellowship application (i.e., F31 or AHA) after initial support on the T-32.

Areas of training focus will include: 1) Functional genomics of lipid metabolism, 2) In vivo imaging of lipid deposition, 3) Botanical lipids in the pathogenesis and treatment of chronic diseases, 4) Macromolecular assembly of lipids, 5) Lipid transport biology, and 6) Bioactive lipids in the pathogenesis and treatment of chronic diseases. There is also a translational research track for students who enroll in the Molecular Medicine and Translational Science graduate program and multiple Mentors have translational research projects for student training.

Graduate students completing our Training Program will have the knowledge, skills, and training to join the national effort in academia, government, or industry to reduce the suffering and death of U.S. citizens from chronic diseases that result from disturbances in lipid metabolism and inflammation.

Project Leader

  • John S. Parks, PhD - Program Director

Training Grant Faculty


  • Yong Chen, PhD (Professor of Cancer Biology)
  • Floyd (Ski) Chilton, PhD (Professor of Physiology/Pharmacology)
  • Suzanne Craft, PhD (Professor of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine)
  • Cristina Furdui, PhD (Associate Professor of Internal Medicine-Molecular Medicine, Biochemistry, Translational Sciences and Cancer Biology)
  • Allyn Howlett, PhD (Professor of Physiology/Pharmacology; Hypertension and Cardiovascular Disease Research Center)
  • Steven Kridel, PhD (Associate Professor of Cancer Biology; Urology)
  • Doug Lyles, PhD (Professor and Chair, Biochemistry)
  • Charles E. McCall, MD (Professor of Internal Medicine-Molecular Medicine, Microbiology & Immunology and Translational Science)
  • John S. Parks, PhD (Professor of Internal Medicine-Molecular Medicine; Biochemistry; Translational Science)
  • Lawrence Rudel, PhD (Professor of Internal Medicine-Molecular Medicine; Biochemistry; Translational Science)
  • Raghunatha Yammani, PhD (Professor of Internal Medicine-Molecular Medicine; Translational Science)

Associate Mentors

  • Martha Alexander-Miller, PhD (Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, Molecular Medicine, Molecular Genetics)
  • Mark Brown, PhD (Cleveland Clinic, Lerner Research Institute)
  • Michael Fessler, MD (Clinical Investigator; Laboratory of Respiratory Biology - Host Defense, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences - NIH)
  • Barry Freedman, PhD (Professor of Internal Medicine - Nephrology)
  • Jason Grayson, PhD (Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology)
  • Greg Hawkins, PhD (Associate Professor of Genomics and Personalized Medicine Research)
  • Kerry Link, MD (CBI Center Director and Professor of Radiology, Cardiology, Regenerative Medicine, Translational Science Institute)
  • Nilamadhab Mishra, MD PhD (Associate Professor of Internal Medicine - Rheumatology and Immunology)
  • Robert Murphy, PhD (University Distinguished Professor of Pharmacology; University of Colorado School of Medicine)
  • Richard B. Weinberg, MD (Professor of Internal Medicine-Gastroenterology)

Predoctoral Trainees

  • Helen Cuffe, Molecular Medicine and Translational Science
  • Erica Lyons, Molecular Medicine and Translational Science
  • Amanda Davis, Cancer Biology
  • Bryan A. Wilson, Molecular Medicine and Translational Science

Postdoctoral Trainees

  • N/A


Quick Reference

Integrative Lipid Sciences Training Program
Program Director:
John Parks, PhD

Internal Medicine - Molecular Medicine
Wake Forest Baptist Health
Medical Center Boulevard
Winston-Salem, NC 27157
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Last Updated: 02-27-2015
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