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Matthew Cottam

Graduate Student, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics


I am a Molecular Physiology and Biophysics graduate student in the lab of Dr. Alyssa Hasty. Our lab studies the role innate and adaptive immune cells play in obesity with a focus on adipose tissue. During progression of obesity, adipose tissue expansion is characterized by infiltration and accumulation of inflammatory immune cells that promote insulin resistance. My project focuses on the role of T lymphocytes during weight gain, weight loss, and weight regain. We have identified a unique subset of memory T cells that persists through weight loss and are primed to respond to weight regain.
Through the Vanderbilt Program in Molecular Medicine, I have had the opportunity to shadow Dr. Matt Spann, a bariatric surgeon. His clinic sees a variety of patients who are interested in surgical weight loss approaches. Along with Dr. Spann’s clinical expertise, I hope to initiate longitudinal electronic medical record studies to identify patients who regain weight and to correlate these findings to risk of disease progression.