Skip to main content
150 Years of Impact

Herding GOAT: Chemistry Investigates Powerful Enzyme Involved in Metabolic Regulation

Oct 28, 2019 — Article by: Diana Napolitano


Structural model of human ghrelin O-acyltransferase (hGOAT), developed by Prof. Hougland and Prof. Shikha Nangia.

James Hougland, associate professor of chemistry and member of the BioInspired Institute, is leading research that could have an impact on today’s major health issues.

The research team’s structure of an enzyme (ghrelin O-acyltransferase, or “GOAT”) involved in controlling hunger and metabolism, developed in a collaboration between Hougland’s lab and Prof. Shikha Nangia’s research group in BCE, was recently published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Hougland’s group has also received an R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health to investigate how GOAT recognizes and activates the peptide hormone ghrelin, a key regulator of energy metabolism and associated neurological signaling pathways. These studies by Hougland and collaborators have the potential to lead to new treatments for metabolic disorders like diabetes and obesity and substance abuse disorders such as alcohol dependence.

Contact Information

Professor James Hougland