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Heart health and diabetes

Several UAB Comprehensive Diabetes Center (UCDC) members published a new review on obesity in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Their research was titled, “Obesity and Overweight: Probing Causes, Consequences, and Novel Therapeutic Approaches Through the American Heart Association's Strategically Focused Research Network.

Associate Director of the UCDC, Tim Garvey, M.D., was second author of the review. Garvey is also principal investigator of the NIH-funded UAB Diabetes Research Center.

Tim GarveyDr. Tim GarveyOther UCDC member authors included Department of OBGYN Assistant Professor Ashley Battarbee, M.D., Department of Nutrition Sciences Associate Professor Paula Chandler-Laney, Ph.D., Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism Associate Professor Kirk Habegger, Ph.D., and Department of Epidemiology Associate Professor Bertha Hidalgo, Ph.D.

Notably, the study included collaboration between UAB and other distinguished academic medical centers, like the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Yale School of Medicine, and New York University Grossman School of Medicine. Each of these four centers comprise the AHA Strategically Focused Research Network (SFRN) on obesity.

Authors note that their review “summarizes the central themes, major findings, successful training of highly motivated and productive fellows, and the innovative collaborations and studies.” Each center outlines recent projects, objectives, and findings in obesity research.

UAB outlined both its obesity clinical and population projects as well as its obesity basic and population projects. Of note, Chandler‐Laney (population) is collaborating with Alan Tita, M.D., professor in the Department of OBGYN, (consultant for the clinical project) and colleagues to conduct research investigating cardiometabolic health of women and children.

Dr. Kirk HabeggerDr. Kirk HabeggerAdditionally, Habegger (basic) and Hidalgo (population) gave updates on an ongoing collaboration project involving methylome‐ and transcriptome‐wide profiling to hypothalamic and germline tissue.

According to Habegger and Hidalgo, they hope this profiling will address whether metabolic perturbations in the parent generation are associated with DNA methylation and gene expression in the hypothalamus of adult offspring.

They hypothesize that these epigenetic changes drive metabolic dysregulation in the offspring. An ongoing question regarding whether differences in offspring DNA methylation are caused by epigenetic inheritance or to in utero exposure to metabolic stressor is still under investigation.

This research noted in their review was funded by the American Heart Association SFRNs as follows: 17SFRN33560006 to Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; 17SFRN33490004 to New York University Grossman School of Medicine; 17SFRN33570038 to the University of Alabama at Birmingham; and 17SFRN33520017, 17SFRN33560015, 17SFRN33520059, and 17SFRN33590035 to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center.