The den Hartigh Laboratory

Dedicated to understanding the impact of fatty acids and inflammatory mediators on adipocyte biology during the development of obesity and subsequent weight loss.

The prevalence of obesity and associated diseases such as type 2 diabetes is rapidly reaching epidemic proportions. Representing major cellular constituents of adipose tissue, adipocytes and macrophages are regarded as prominent players in the metabolic, hormonal, and homeostatic regulation of adiposity. Despite the fundamental role adipose tissue plays in whole body metabolism, nutritive mechanisms that contribute to its maintenance in the context of obesity remain poorly understood. Dr. den Hartigh’s research focuses on the effects of nutrient excess on cellular metabolism, with particular attention given to the effects of fatty acids on cell types associated with the development of obesity such as adipocytes and monocytes/macrophages.
Inflammation of visceral adipose tissue is thought to be associated with insulin resistance, systemic inflammation and atherosclerosis. Furthermore, adipose tissue inflammation is characterized by immune cell accumulation, with macrophages as the predominant infiltrating cell type. We are particularly interested in the role of excess nutrients derived from glucose, as well as long- and short-chain fatty acids on adipose tissue inflammation and metabolism. We use in vitro systems and mouse models to study how obesity derived by nutrient excess leads to adipose tissue and systemic inflammation.

Current and Recent Lab Members

Laura den Hartigh, PhD
Laura den Hartigh, PhD

Dr. den Hartigh received her Ph.D. in Molecular, Cellular, and Integrated Physiology from the University of California, Davis in 2008, with a Designated Emphasis in Biotechnology. She began her postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Dr. Dennis Wilson, D.V.M, Ph.D. at the University of California, Davis, and completed her training in the laboratory of Dr. Alan Chait, M.D. at the University of Washington. She was appointed to the faculty in 2013 as a Research Assistant Professor, and holds an adjunct appointment with Nutritional Sciences. Dr. den Hartigh serves on the Editorial Board for the Endocrinology section of the journal Scientific Reports. She frequently serves on study sections on Lipids Basic Science and Lipids and Thrombosis for the American Heart Association, and on study sections on Obesity and Diabetes for the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Katherine Turk
Katherine Turk

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Member of the Husky 100 in 2017.

Leela Goodpseed
Leela Goodpseed

Research Scientist


Contact Us

UW Medicine Diabetes Institute
750 Republican Street, Box 358062
Seattle, WA 98109

Laura den Hartigh: (206) 543-8406
Laboratory: (206) 543-2264
Fax: (206) 543-3567

To inquire about Postdoctoral and Graduate Student Openings click on: lauradh@uw.edu