Malnutrition continues to be a major issue in our country, with more than 50% of children below 5 being underweight. Intuitively, malnutrition is corrected by providing a balanced, nutritious diet. However malnutrition experienced during development may not entirely be erasable. Studies show that low birth weight babies have a greater risk for acquiring cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes and obesity. This phenomenon DOHaD (Developmental Origins for Health and Disease) is now well established for humans with the first two years of life, from conception to ~2years, being recognised as crucial for proper development.
What are the molecular underpinnings of DoHAD? How is early life nutritional loss, both macro and micro, experienced at the organ and cellular level? Why does early life malnutrition increase risks for certain diseases?
To answer these questions, our lab is using Drosophila melanogaster (vinegar fly) to understand how nutritional loss during early life, reprograms cells in different tissues to ultimately affect both physiology and behaviour. We are starting our explorations with the brain and the gut, two interconnected organs that are major determinants of overall health. A particular focus in going to be on peptide hormones made in these organs by specialised cells: enteroendocrine (gut) and neuroendocrine (brain).
© 2021 TDU, Bengaluru. A UGC Recognized University.