The research interest of the Waterland Lab is early nutritional influences on mammalian epigenetic gene regulation.
Our research aims 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.