Yaacov Barak, PhD
Associate Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science

Dr. Barak is a member of the Magee-Womens Research Institute and Foundation and a member of the Cellular and Molecular Pathology Graduate Training Program.
Office Location:
Magee-Womens Research Institute
204 Craft Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15203
Contact Information:
Office Telephone: 412-641-8557
Lab Telephone: 412-641-3877
Email: bbaraky@mwri.magee.edu


  • PhD - 1994, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Research Interests

Dr. Barak's two disparate research themes are the placenta and adipose (fat) tissue. His laboratory focuses on the developmental regulateion of both tissues by the nuclear hormone receptors PPARgamma and PPARdelta - two key therapeutic targets in metabolic diseases.

Research methodologies in Dr. Barak's laboratory include:

  1. Gene targeting methodologies, including lineage tracing, tissue-specific and conditional knockouts and knockins and CRISPR/CAS9-mediated targeting.
  2. Histological, physiological and molecular phenotyping.
  3. Studies of stem and progenitor cells.
  4. Molecular analyses of gene expression regulation.

Findings facilitated by these approaches yielded, in turn, downstream studies that are available as potential thesis projects for interested students. Projects may integrate one or more of the following broad areas:

  1. Placental origin of congenital heart defects.
  2. PPAR and hypoxia regulation in trophoblasts.
  3. A novel adipocyte death pathway and the etiology/physiology of obesity/type II diabetes.

Selected Publications

View Dr. Barak's publications on PubMed

  1. Barak Y, Nelson MC, Ong ES, Jones YZ, Ruiz-Lozano P, Koder A, Chien KR, Evans RM. PPAR is required for placental, cardiac, and adipose tissue development. Mol Cell 1999;4:585-595.
  2. Barak Y, Liao D, He W, Ong ES, Nelson MC, Olefsky JM, Boland R, Evans RM. Effects of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor on placentation, adiposity, and colorectal cancer. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2002;99:303-308.
  3. He W*, Barak Y*, Hevener A*, Olson P, Liao D, Le J, Nelson M, Ong E, Olefsky JM, Evans RM (*Co-first authors). Adipose-specific peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor knockout causes insulin resistance in fat and liver, but not in muscle. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2003;100:15712-15717.
  4. Shalom-Barak T, Nicholas JM, Wang Y, Zhang X, Ong ES, Young TH, Gendler SJ, Evans RM, Barak Y. PPAR controls Muc1 transcription in trophoblasts. . 2004; 24:10661-10669.
  5. Kim S, Huang L-W, Snow KJ, Ablamunits V, Hasham MG, Young TH, Paulk AC, Richardson JE, Affourtit J, Shalom-Barak T, Bult CJ, Barak Y. A mouse model of conditional lipodystrophy. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2007;104:16627-16632.
  6. Barak Y, Sadovsky Y, Shalom-Barak T. 2008. PPAR signaling in placental development and function. PPAR Res. 2008:142082.
  7. Shalom-Barak T, Zhang X, Chu T, Schaiff WT, Reddy JK, Xu J, Sadovsky Y, Barak Y. 2012. Placental PPAR regulates spatiotemporally diverse genes and a unique metabolic network. Dev Biol. 372:143-155.
  8. Lee S, Pallerla SR, Kim S, Shaffer B, Simerly CR, Chaillet JR, Barak Y. 2016. Esrrb-Cre excises loxP-flanked alleles in early four-Cell embryos. Genesis. 54:53-61.
  9. Shalom-Barak T, Liersemann J, Memari B, Flechner L, Devor CE, Bernardo TM, Kim S, Matsumoto N, Friedman SL, Evans RM, White JH, Barak Y. 2018. Ligand-dependent corepressor (LCoR) is a rexinoid-inhibited PPAR?-RXR? coactivator. Mol Cell Biol. 38:e00107-17.
  10. Barak Y, Hemberger M, Sucov HM. 2019. Phases and Mechanisms of Embryonic Cardiomyocyte Proliferation and Ventricular Wall Morphogenesis. Pediatr Cardiol. 40: 1359-1366. Erratum in Pediatr Cardiol. 41:220.