Theme 3

Environmental and Genetic Influences on Obesity and Related Chronic Diseases

Researchers in this group seek to understand how lifestyle variables interact with genes to influence obesity and related metabolic diseases. Specifically they engage in epidemiologic and clinical studies to:

  • 1) Assess the impact of environmental and behavioral influences (e.g., over- or under-nutrition, specific nutrients, physical activity, hormones and environmental toxicants) during critical periods of development on energy and nutrient homeostasis and identify risk factors for the development of obesity and obesity-related chronic diseases
  • 2) Identify genes that influence and contribute to inter-individual variations in body weight, fatness and fat distribution, spontaneous physical activity, and eating behaviors
  • 3) Assess the impact of diet-gene interactions on risk for obesity and related health outcomes
  • 4) Understand the role of epigenetics in mediating the influence of nutrition and obesity during critical periods of development on risk for metabolic disease