You are here:

Scott Summers

Professor and Chair of Nutrition and Integrative Physiology and
Adjunct Professor of Biochemistry and Co-Director of the Diabetes and Metabolism Research Center

Summers Photo

B.S. Indiana University

Ph.D. Southern Illinois University



Scott Summers' Lab Page

Scott Summers' PubMed Literature Search


Molecular Biology Program

Biological Chemistry Program

Diabetes, dyslipidemia, metabolic disease, sphingolipids, ceramide, insulin resistance and beta cell failure


Ceramides are products of fat and protein metabolism that accumulate in individuals prone to metabolic disorders. Once ceramide levels rise above a critical threshold, tissues become unresponsive to insulin, the hormone that facilitates nutrient storage. The Summers Laboratory found that implementing pharmacological or genetic engineering strategies to block ceramide accumulation in rodents improves insulin sensitivity and prevents the onset of diabetes and fatty liver disease. Building upon these discoveries, they now seek to understand the regulatory mechanisms governing ceramide synthesis or action and to identify new therapeutic strategies for reducing ceramides to treat these pathologies.


  1. Summers SA (2018) Could ceramides become the new cholesterol? Cell Metabolism 27(2):276-280

  2. Tippetts TS, Holland WL, and Summers SA (2018) The Ceramide Ratio: A Predictor of Cardiometabolic Risk. Journal of Lipid Research (in press)

  3. Chaurasia B, Holland WL, Summers SA (2018) Does this Schlank make me look fat. Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism (in press)

  4. Holland WL and Summers SA (2018) Strong Heart, Low Ceramides. Diabetes (in press)

  5. Meikle PJ and Summers SA (2017) Sphingolipids and phospholipids in insulin resistance and related metabolic disorders. Nature Reviews in Endocrinology and Metabolism 13 (2), 79-91
  6. Chaurasia B, Kaddai VA, Lancaster GL, Henstridge DC, Srirah S, Galam DAL, Gopalan, V, BPrahkash KNB, Velan SS, Bulchand S, Tson TJ, Wang M, Siddique MM, Yuguang G, Sigmundsson K, Mellet NA, Weir JM, Meikle PJ, Shabeeer BMMY, Shabbir A, Shayman JA, Hirabahashi Y, Shio SATE, Sugii S, and Summers SA (2016) Adipocyte ceramides regulate subcutaneous adipose browning, inflammation and metabolism. Cell Metabolism 24 (6), 820-834
  7. Goodpaster B and Summers SA (2016) CrossTalk Proposal: Intramyocellular ceramides do cause insulin resistance. Journal of Physiology 594 (12), 316703170
  8. Park M, Kaddai V, Ching J, Fridianto KT, Sieli RJ, Sugii S, and Summers SA (2016) Role for Ceramides, but NOT Sphingomyelins, as antagonists of insulin signaling and mitochondrial metabolism in C2C12 myotubes. Journal of Biological Chemistry 291 (46), 23978-23988
  9. Chaurasia B and Summers SA (2015) Ceramides—Lipotoxic inducers of metabolic disorders. Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism 26 (10), 538-5041
  10. Siddique M, Li Y, Chaurasia B, Kaddai V and Summers SA (2015) Dihydroceramides – From bit players to lead actors. Journal of Biological Chemistry 290 (25), 15371-9
  11. Raichur S, Wang ST, Chan PW, Li Y, Ching J, Chaurasia B, Dogra S, Öhman M, Takeda K, Sugii S, Pewzner-Jung Y, Futerman AH, and Summers SA (2014) Increases in C16:0 Ceramides Resulting From CerS2 Haploinsufficiency Inhibits b-Oxidation and Confers Susceptibility to Diet-Induced Steatohepatitis and Insulin Resistance. Cell Metabolism 20 (4), 687-9542
  12. Holland WL, Bikman BT, Wang L-P, Sargent KM, Knotts TA, Shui G, Wenk MR, Pagliassotti MJ and Summers SA (2011) Lipid-induced insulin resistance mediated by the proinflammatory receptor TLR4 requires saturated fatty acid-induced ceramide biosynthesis in mice. Journal of Clinical Investigation 121 (5), 1858-70
  13. Holland WL, Miller R, Wang ZV, Barth B, Bui HH, Halberg N, Davis KE, Wade M, Kuo M-S, Brozinick JT, Zhang BB, Birnbaum MJ, Summers SA and Scherer PE (2011) A unifying mechanism for adiponectin Action: the pleiotropic actions of adiponectin are mediated via receptor-mediated activation of neutral ceramidase activity. Nature Medicine 17 (1), 55-63
  14. Bikman BT and Summers SA (2011) Ceramides as modulators of cellular and whole-body metabolism. Journal of Clinical Investigation 11, 4222-4230
  15. Holland WL, Brozinick JT, Wang LP, Hawkins ED, Sargent KM, Liu Y, Narra K, Hoehn KL, Knotts TA, Siesky A, Nelson DH, Karathanasis SK, Fontenot GK, Birnbaum MJ and Summers SA (2007) Inhibition of ceramide synthesis ameliorates glucocorticoid-, saturated-fat-, and obesity-induced insulin resistance. Cell Metabolism 5 (3), 167-79
Last Updated: 7/17/18