Umesh D. Wankhade, Ph.D.
Department of Pediatrics
Section of Developmental Nutrition
Adipose tissue dysfunction lies at the core of the burgeoning obesity and diabetes epidemics. However, little is known about the in utero and early life development of adipose tissue and its role in offspring health throughout later life. I am interested in understanding the developmental origins of childhood and adult obesity, specifically the long-term consequences of maternal obesity on the offspring. Exciting recent advances have led to a renewed understanding and identification of thermogenic, anti-obesogenic ‘beige’ adipose tissue. I am focused on understanding the developmental origin of beige as well as classical white and brown adipose tissue depots. Especially my current emphasis is on understanding the developmental programming of different types of fat cells in the context of maternal and infant diets. Along with traditional techniques such as cell culture and animal models, we are leveraging high-throughput genomic methodologies such as RNA-seq, DNA methylation and microbial ecology analyses to answer novel questions in metabolic programming. The overall objectives of these studies are aimed at gaining a better mechanistic understanding of the physiological basis of fetal programming to provide novel opportunities for effective intervention.