In our research we are investigating how different foods and their constituents inform fullness and satiety to the brain. The objectives are to identify how cells of the gut and liver respond differently to different nutrients, and also how these nutrients may differentially affect metabolism to promote improved health. We are also interested in how diet-induced differences in the gut microbiome may alter host metabolism and health. The research results should provide evidence which, after validation in human trials, may be released as advice to the general public, or as product formulation advice to the food or drug industry aimed at healthy weight management.
We are also interested in signals that drive seasonal models to alter their body weight dramatically in response to photoperiod change, since the genes involved may encode neuropeptides or receptors that have potential relevance to human energy balance and thus may be therapeutic targets for weight loss. Currently this part of our work is focused on vitamin A signaling in the hypothalamus.
We use molecular biology and biochemical approaches including Next Generation Sequencing, Real-time PCR, in situ hybridization and Western blotting to identify target genes and exploit novel in vivo agonist/antagonist or antibody delivery in techniques aimed at addressing functional responses.
Swang Shallangwa - PhD student
Biotechnology and Biological Science Research Council (BBSRC) grant number BB/K001043/1 entitled: Inflammatory signals regulate neuroendocrine control of growth and energy balance through re-modelling of mammalian hypothalamus.