Positions

Associate Professor
Pediatrics-Nutrition
Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, TX, US
Associate Professor
Molecular and Human Genetics
Baylor College of Medicine
Associate Professor
USDA/ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center
Baylor College of Medicine
Member
Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center
Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, Texas, United States

Education

BS from Virginia Tech
Physics
PhD from Cornell University
Human Nutrition
Postdoctoral Fellowship at Duke University
Developmental Genetics

Professional Interests

  • Environmental influences on mammalian developmental epigenetics

Professional Statement

Research in the Waterland laboratory aims to understand how nutrition and other environmental influences during prenatal and early postnatal development affect individual susceptibility to various diseases later in life. We are focused on nutritional influences on developmental epigenetics as a likely mediating mechanism.

Epigenetic mechanisms are established during development to stably regulate tissue-specific patterns of gene expression. DNA methylation is of particular interest because mammalian one-carbon metabolism, which supplies the methyl groups for DNA methylation, is intimately dependent on dietary methyl donors and cofactors. We use various mouse models to investigate early nutritional influences on the developmental establishment of DNA methylation and associated phenotypes. We are also conducting human studies to identify persistent epigenetic changes associated with early nutritional exposures. We use genome-wide DNA methylation profiling, bioinformatic analysis, bisulfite pyrosequencing, and various gene expression assays.

Additionally, we are also investigating the role of epigenetic dysregulation in obesity. In particular, we are using mouse models to study whether maternal obesity and nutrition before and during pregnancy affect developmental epigenetics in the hypothalamus and, consequently, body weight regulation in her offspring.

Selected Publications