Understanding how alterations in energy metabolism contribute to obesity-related metabolic disorders including insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Ongoing research projects in the laboratory include:
1) Active investigation into how modulating ketone body metabolism in the skeletal muscle can protect against obesity-induced insulin resistance and the development of type 2 diabetes.
2) Understanding the mechanisms driving cardiac insulin resistance during obesity/type 2 diabetes, with a focus on insulin resistance of specific pathways of insulin signalling in the heart that cause heart failure in patients with obesity/type 2 diabetes.
3) Ongoing studies in the lab aim to identify how epigenetic alterations to genes implicated in the control of energy metabolism are passed on from obese pregnant mother to child that increase the risk for early onset obesity.
Experimental Techniques Routinely Used in the Lab:
1) Creation of tissue-specific gene knockout mice
2) High fat feeding models of obesity
3) Assessment of insulin resistance/sensitivity via oral and intraperitoneal glucose tolerance testing, as well as intraperitoneal insulin tolerance testing
4) Assessment of insulin signalling via Western blotting techniques
5) Real-time PCR
6) Animal studies of exercise training
7) Surgically-induced animal models of cardiovascular disease including heart attack (temporary left anterior descending coronary artery ligation) and heart failure (permanent left anterior descending coronary artery ligation)
8) Assessment of heart function in animals via ultrasound echocardiography imaging
9) Assessment of flux through metabolic pathways (e.g. glucose oxidation, fatty acid oxidation, ketone body oxidation, glycolysis) in both isolated tissue and cell culture systems
10) Culturing of cardiac and skeletal muscle myocytes
11) Enzyme activity assays