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Joseph Elsakr, BSE

Graduate Student, Gannon Lab

A mother’s diet and metabolic status during gestation has been shown to affect her offspring’s risk of developing metabolic disease later in life. In the Gannon Lab, I study the mediators of this increased disease risk using two animal models of maternal high fat diet during pregnancy. In a collaboration with multiple labs across the country, I obtain pancreata from non-human primates exposed to high fat diet in utero. Pancreatic endocrine cell mass, structure, and function are currently being investigated. In a mouse model, I study the effects of maternal high fat diet on the epigenetic profile of pancreatic beta cells in the offspring. Together, these studies will enhance our understanding of how high fat diet during pregnancy predisposes offspring to develop metabolic disease.