Areas of Interest
Obesity is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and musculoskeletal disorders. One of the causal factors in the development of obesity is the consumption of excessive calories, which is common to western-style diets that are composed of around 30% sugar. Like humans, fruit flies on a high sugar diet overeat and become obese. These flies also have altered brain-wide metabolic and transcriptional profiles. Using genetics, behavior, and molecular biology, I study how diet-derived nutrients act via metabolic-transcriptional pathways to generate aberrant feeding behaviors. Understanding how a high sugar diet promotes obesity will provide a framework that mammalian researchers can use to develop better prevention and treatment strategies for metabolic disease.