Our research aims to discover how the body regulates where excess fat is deposited, how increased body fat affects our health, and how this is all regulated during growth and development and across different segments of the population. We are interested in understanding the mechanism linking fat accumulation to risk of diabetes, heart disease, and fatty liver disease, and how this is established early in life from a developmental perspective. We are also doing clinical trials to examine how these links can be reversed with novel dietary interventions.
Another major focus of our research is to understand the role of dietary sugar and fructose in particular, on obesity and metabolic risk in children. We are especially interested in understanding how early nutritional exposures to sugars and low calorie sweeteners can affect body fat development and early risk, including cognitive development, and how this might be mediated by the impact of early nutrition on the developing infant gut microbiome. We are particularly interested in bioactive compounds in mothers milk called human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs). These HMO’s are non-digestible sugars, and we are studying how they act as prebiotics enhancing gut health and healthy development in the first few years of life.
Our research group has been studying the causes and consequences of childhood obesity for almost 30 years. I have put together this website to share our findings and updates on new studies. I hope you find this site helpful, and I welcome your feedback and comments.