staff_caoWenhong Cao, M.D. joined the UNC Nutrition Research Institute (NRI) as a Research Associate Professor in July 2012, moving his research program from the UNC-Chapel Hill main campus to Kannapolis.
For over two decades, Dr. Cao has been trying to find new and more effective ways to prevent and treat obesity and diabetes and their associated cardiovascular disorders by investigating mechanisms of obesity, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).
Insulin resistance is a precursor or key component of many modern health problems such as obesity, metabolic syndrome, type II diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disorders, non-alcoholic fatty liver, Alzheimer’s disease, some cancers (breast cancer, colon cancer and prostate cancer), and aging. His lab will continue its work on the mechanisms of insulin resistance including the following components: hepatic gluconeogenesis, hepatic lipogenesis, production of new mitochondria, autophagy-dependent removal of aged/damaged mitochondria, and insulin receptor isoforms. They will use various molecular, cellular and animal models in studies.
Dr. Cao received his medical degree from Hunan Medical University in Hunan, China. Cao received his medical degree and his residency training at the Hunan University and would later begin his career as an assistant and then later, associate professor in the department of Internal Medicine at Hunan University. In 1993, he joined Duke University Medical Center as a research associate continuing on to become an associate consulting professor in Internal Medicine (Endocrinology). In 1997, he was certified by the medical board of USA (ECFMG). In 2004, he became an Assistance Investigator and then promoted to be Associate Investigator in 2009 at The Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences. He joined UNC as a Research Associate Professor in the department of Nutrition in 2011.
Dr. Cao serves as an editorial board member for the Journal of Biological Biochemistry, the American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and Metabolism, and the BBA-Metabolism, Cell Biology of Lipids and Journal of Biological Chemistry. In 2008, he was highlighted by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) Today for his work on defensing suppression of hepatic gluconeogenesis and 2009 received the Star Reviewer Award from the American Physiological Society and the American Journal of Physiology.

Cao’s Research Team