Focus of Waterland Research
The research interest of the Waterland Lab is to understand how nutrition during prenatal and early postnatal development affects individual susceptibility to various adult-onset chronic diseases.
Dr. Waterland's lab focuses on nutritional influences on developmental epigenetics as a likely mediating mechanism. Epigenetic gene regulatory mechanisms regulate tissue-specific patterns of gene expression and are established during development. Cytosine ≈ is an epigenetic mechanism of particular interest because mammalian one-carbon metabolism, which supplies the methyl groups for DNA methylation, is intimately dependent on dietary methyl donors and co-factors.
The Waterland Lab is increasingly interested in whether maternal obesity and nutrition before and during pregnancy affect developmental epigenetics in the hypothalamus and, consequently, body weight regulation in her offspring.