Primary Research Areas
Obesity and its associated metabolic diseases are one of the greatest public health challenges in the United States. Recent estimates find that over 30% of adults and 17% of children in the United States are obese. This is of great concern as obesity is a major risk factor for a number of chronic diseases including insulin resistance, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and certain cancers. Additionally, gestational diabetes and or maternal obesity during pregnancy significantly increases the likelihood of early development of obesity and metabolic diseases in the child and an increased 4-fold greater risk of type 2 diabetes in the mother. Insulin resistance is a central and defining feature of the metabolic diseases associated with obesity. The Obesity & Metabolism research laboratory focuses on understanding the cellular signals that initiate and propagate insulin resistance in response to acute and chronic nutrient excess. The laboratory incorporates whole animal physiology with both common and cutting edge cellular and molecular techniques.
Major research areas within the laboratory are:
I. Insulin Resistance in Obesity:To investigate points of crosstalk between insulin signaling and inflammatory pathways within adipocytes in response to a high fat/sucrose diets. (NIH DK095926)
II. Transgenerational Effects of Obesity. Metabolic Programming in the Offspring:
To examine the effect of diet and obesity during pregnancy on fetal and offspring muscle function and metabolism. (NIH DK090964)
III. Mechanisms of Skeletal Muscle Insulin Resistance in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: To isolate the cellular pathways that lead to skeletal muscle insulin resistance in adolescent females with hyperandrogenemia (NIH Pilot Award)