Lab Members

Marilyn Ader, PhD
Associate Director, Research Scientist

Marilyn Ader, PhD, received her doctorate in physiology and biophysics from the University of Southern California and her master’s in biological sciences from Kent State University. Ader has performed basic and translational research in diabetes and obesity for more than 30 years with particular emphasis on the mechanisms by which multiple organ systems interact to maintain glucose homeostasis, and the role impaired interactions contribute to the pathogenesis of diabetes. She has presented extensively on her basic and clinical studies to elucidate the mechanistic link between atypical antipsychotic treatment, obesity and increased diabetes risk. Ader has served on many NIH grant review committees in the areas of obesity, diabetes, metabolism and antipsychotics. She was co-editor-in-chief of Obesity, the flagship scientific journal of the Obesity Society. She is also the director of the Biomedical Sciences and Translational Medicine Graduate Program at Cedars-Sinai.

Morvarid Kabir, PhD
Assistant Professor, Research Scientist

There is an abundance of evidence demonstrating the association of obesity, in particular central or intra-abdominal obesity, with a cluster of metabolic disorders. One of the research goals of our laboratory is to understand the molecular regulation of adipose tissue from different anatomical depots and why intra-abdominal obesity is associated with the whole body and hepatic insulin resistance. Recently, our group has also been interested in the role of reduced hepatic insulin clearance in Type 2 diabetes. We are performing physiological, cellular and molecular experiments to clarify whether reduced hepatic insulin clearance can lead to Type 2 diabetes. We utilize molecular and cellular techniques to examine the interplay between adipose tissue, liver, muscle and heart during insulin resistance and obesity using interventions such as fat feeding and insulin-sensitizing drugs, including a selective endocannabinoid receptor antagonist and sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors. My group demonstrated the mechanisms by which CB1 antagonists and SGLT2 inhibitors promote beiging and improve energy homeostasis in adipose tissue.

Rita Thomas
Research Administrative Coordinator

Rita Thomas has been in the Bergman Laboratory for more than 25 years. She has provided technical expertise on several human and animal projects. She also has expertise in quantifying images obtained from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Currently, she is in charge of all the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays, radioimmunoassays and colorimetric assays, in addition to overseeing the laboratory supply inventory.

Hasmik (Jasmine) Mkrtchyan
Research Associate II

Hasmik (Jasmine) Mkrtchyan has been in the Bergman Laboratory for more than 12 years. She received her doctorate degree from Medical University of Armenia and has performed the experimental part of institutional protocols. Hasmik works with laboratory animals, preparing them for further experiments. She also manages laboratory operations and ensures the accuracy of measuring equipment.

Jay Porter, PhD
Postdoctoral Scientist

Jay Porter joined the Bergman Lab in 2021 after completing his PhD in exercise physiology from the University of Missouri in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology with Jill Kanaley, PhD. Previously, Jay completed a BS from the Ohio State University and an MS from Montana State University with a focus in nutrition and exercise sciences. His current research interests are related to the progression of diabetes and focus on adipose tissue metabolism and hepatic insulin clearance.

Esther Olivo
Sr. Administrative Assistant

Contact the Bergman Lab

8730 Alden Drive.
Thalians Building, Room E104
Los Angeles, CA 90048

Fax: 310-967-3869