Projects: Understanding prenatal precursors of disease
Projects are available for young scientists at all levels
• Developmental consequences of maternal obesity during pregnancy
This line of research aims to discover how and why the offspring of mothers with obesity during pregnancy often have increased risk of obesity and "the metabolic syndrome" as well as autism, developmental delay, and depression. Specifically, we are interested in identifying the cellular and molecular changes that take place in the brain of the fetus when it develops in an obese mother. Projects will explore neurogenesis, axon growth, synaptogenesis, and epigenetic changes to adult and developmental gene regulation. The goal of this research is to explain how maternal obesity increases the risk of offspring obesity and the metabolic syndrome, as well as risk of autism and learning disability.
We use a mix of molecular and cellular biology techniques, including DNA methylation analysis, real-time PCR, transcriptome (RNA-seq) analysis, primary culture of neurons and neural stem cells, fluorescence microscopy, transgenic models, and live cell imaging.