Parks, a graduate student in Dr. Janusz Kabarowski’s lab from 2004 to 2009, is studying the genetic nature of obesity and weight gain at the University of California, Los Angeles. His recent study using a systems genetics approach in mice analyzed genetic and environmental interactions affecting obesity, metabolic syndrome and gut microbiota composition. The results indicated that body-fat responses and gut microbe changes to high-fat, high-sugar diets have a very strong genetic component. “We have identified several genetic factors potentially regulating these responses,” says Parks.
Read Dr. Parks’ most recent results, “Genetic Control of Obesity and Gut Microbiota Composition in Response to High-Fat, High-Sucrose Diet in Mice,” in the January 2013 issue of Cell Metabolism and a commentary at http://www.nih.gov/researchmatters/january2013/01282013weight.htm.