L. Ashley Cowart, PhD
Dr. Cowart’s research seeks to understand the mechanisms by which obesity leads to disease including diabetes, fatty liver disease, and heart failure. Her laboratory focuses on bioactive lipids including ceramides and sphingosine-1-phosphate. These lipid mediators increase in obesity and act on organs and tissues to promote cell death, inflammation, changes in mitochondrial function, and many other outcomes that give rise to complications from obesity. Circulating levels of certain lipids also can serve as diagnostic biomarkers for numerous conditions including diabetes and post-traumatic stress disorder. Dr. Cowart is working with collaborators to identify these novel diagnostic markers for diseases that disproportionately impact veterans in an effort to improve veterans’ health.