A photo of Juan Sanchez Gurmaches.

Assistant Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics


Biography & Affiliation


Obesity is one of the principal risk factors for metabolic dysregulations, including Type 2 diabetes, as well as cardiovascular disease and stroke. As a consequence, obesity creates incredible emotional, health and economic burdens worldwide. We are in desperate need of new therapies to reduce the effects of obesity.

The long-term goal of my laboratory is to identify new therapeutic approaches to treat or prevent obesity-derived pathologies by understanding the physiologic and pathologic fundamental mechanisms that control adipose tissue development, growth and metabolism.

In my lab, we use innovative lineage tracing techniques that allow single-cell resolution and a combination of whole-genome expression profiling, metabolomics, biochemical, physiological and cell biology approaches to find new therapeutic interventions against obesity.

Our findings indicate that adipose tissue, in contrast to other tissues and organs, carries a complexity of multiple stem cell and fully differentiated cell populations with complex dynamics and plasticity capabilities. Exploiting this developmental heterogeneity in the formation of adipose tissues, we demonstrated that genetically modifying the activity of the critical insulin/Akt/mTOR signaling pathway between adipocyte lineages during development significantly affects fat distribution, which, interestingly, is reminiscent of fat distribution observed in humans.

My research was featured on the cover of Cell Metabolism and Trends in Cell Biology, and several of my publications were selected for “best of” or “highlights” sections of their respective journals. In 2018, I was awarded with the Career Development Award by the American Heart Association and in 2020, with the Trustee Award from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Research Foundation.

Research Interests

Adipocytes; brown and white fat; animal models; adipocyte development and heterogeneity; insulin signaling; animal models

Academic Affiliation

Assistant Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics

Research Divisions

Endocrinology, Developmental Biology


BS: University of Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain, 2005.

PhD: University of Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain, 2010.


The Lipid Handling Capacity of Subcutaneous Fat Is Programmed by mTORC2 during Development. Hsiao, W; Jung, SM; Tang, Y; Haley, JA; Li, R; Li, H; Calejman, CM; Sanchez-Gurmaches, J; Hung, C; Luciano, AK; et al. Cell Reports. 2020; 33.

Violet-light suppression of thermogenesis by opsin 5 hypothalamic neurons. Zhang, KX; D'Souza, S; Upton, BA; Kernodle, S; Vemaraju, S; Nayak, G; Gaitonde, KD; Holt, AL; Linne, CD; Smith, AN; et al. Nature: New biology. 2020; 585:420-425.

Adaptive Thermogenesis in Mice Is Enhanced by Opsin 3-Dependent Adipocyte Light Sensing. Nayak, G; Zhang, KX; Vemaraju, S; Odaka, Y; Buhr, ED; Holt-Jones, A; Kernodle, S; Smith, AN; Upton, BA; D'Souza, S; et al. Cell Reports. 2020; 30:672-686.e8.

Non-canonical mTORC2 Signaling Regulates Brown Adipocyte Lipid Catabolism through SIRT6-FoxO1. Jung, SM; Hung, C; Hildebrand, SR; Sanchez-Gurmaches, J; Martinez-Pastor, B; Gengatharan, JM; Wallace, M; Mukhopadhyay, D; Calejman, CM; Luciano, AK; et al. Molecular Cell. 2019; 75:807-822.e8.

Inflammation and Immunity: From an Adipocyte's Perspective. Chan, CC; Damen, MS M A; Alarcon, PC; Sanchez-Gurmaches, J; Divanovic, S. Journal of Interferon and Cytokine Research. 2019; 39:459-471.

A Brain-Melanocortin-Vagus Axis Mediates Adipose Tissue Expansion Independently of Energy Intake. Holland, J; Sorrell, J; Yates, E; Smith, K; Arbabi, S; Arnold, M; River, M; Morano, R; Chen, J; Zhang, X; et al. Cell Reports. 2019; 27:2399-2410.e6.

Brown fat organogenesis and maintenance requires AKT1 and AKT2. Sanchez-Gurmaches, J; Calejman, CM; Jung, SM; Li, H; Guertin, DA. Molecular Metabolism. 2019; 23:60-74.

Brown Adipose Tissue Development and Metabolism. Jung, SM; Sanchez-Gurmaches, J; Guertin, DA. Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology. 2019; 251:3-36.

Enzyme promiscuity drives branched-chain fatty acid synthesis in adipose tissues. Wallace, M; Green, CR; Roberts, LS; Lee, YM; McCarville, JL; Sanchez-Gurmaches, J; Meurs, N; Gengatharan, JM; Hover, JD; Phillips, SA; et al. Nature Chemical Biology. 2018; 14:1021-1031.

Brown Fat AKT2 Is a Cold-Induced Kinase that Stimulates ChREBP-Mediated De Novo Lipogenesis to Optimize Fuel Storage and Thermogenesis. Sanchez-Gurmaches, J; Tang, Y; Jespersen, NZ; Wallace, M; Calejman, CM; Gujja, S; Li, H; Edwards, YJ K; Wolfrum, C; Metallo, CM; et al. Cell Metabolism. 2018; 27:195-209.e6.