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Below are examples of a few projects our lab is working on!


Childhood vs. Adulthood -Onset Obesity

Researching why people with obesity since childhood are at higher risk of metabolic disease.

Overweight people who have been so since childhood are at especially high risk of heart disease and stroke. We want to know why these people are at higher risk. This study is being conducted to see whether being overweight from childhood affects the body differently than becoming overweight as an adult. Specific questions we examine are: How does developing obesity as a child affect fat and muscle differently than if we gain weight as adults? Do obese adults who were overweight children respond differently to weight loss than those who became obese as adults? Participants in this study will undergo a diet and exercise weight loss program. The results from this study will help us understand whether different treatment approaches should be considered, minimizing disease risk in people with obesity.


Bariatric Surgery in Type 2 Diabetes 

Studying how obesity and Type 2 Diabetes contribute independently to changes in fat tissue.

 We think that obesity and Type 2 Diabetes (T2DM) independently contribute to changes in fat tissue of the upper compared to the lower body that put us at greater risk of disease and its complications. The questions that will be answered in the proposed project are:

  • How do excess weight and T2DM affect upper and lower body fat tissue characteristics differently and how do these differences relate to disease risk and progression?
  • How do weight loss in obese non-T2DM and T2DM affect these regional fat tissue characteristics and how do these changes affect disease risk and progression?

Finding the answers to our questions will ultimately help us understand how obesity and diabetes are changing our fat tissue. This understanding will help us identify treatment targets for obesity and diabetes to prevent disease risk and progression.


Nutritional Outcomes in Bariatric Surgery Patients

Studying the best post-surgical nutrition options

Currently, there is little research on which to base nutritional recommendations in patients who have undergone bariatric surgery. The objective of this study is to examine how post-surgical nutrition mediates changes in metabolism and what the implications of these changes are with regards to post-surgical outcomes. In this study, we aim to examine the effects of post-surgical decreases in food intake on energy metabolism, muscle function, and extent of weight loss. In doing so, we hope to better understand the nutritional needs of bariatric surgery patients.


The Effect of Exercise on Muscle Fat in Childhood and Adulthood-Onset Obesity

Understanding how the age at which obesity develops affects muscle fat use during exercise

Those with childhood-onset obesity have lower resting rates of fat use vs. those with adulthood onset obesity. The mechanisms that underlie these differences are unclear. The goal of the project is to determine whether exercise induced changes in the fat in muscle (ie. Intramyocellular lipid (IMCL) and extramyocellular lipid (EMCL)) are affected by age of obesity onset.


High Protein-Low Carbohydrate Diets: Does Protein Source Affect Fat Metabolism and Dietary Safety?

Investigating the effects of animal and plant proteins in high protein-low carbohydrate diets

Popular low carbohydrate – high protein diets were recently associated with adverse long-term cardiovascular health outcomes depending on the source of protein supplementation (animal versus plant-based). The underlying causes of this effect remain unknown in both animal and human nutrition. The objective of this study is to compare how a low carbohydrate-high protein weight loss diet, supplemented with either animal- or plant-based protein affects blood and fat tissue lipid profiles, immune cell profiles, and blood markers of inflammation.