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EGA Institute for Women's Health

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Epigenetic inheritance and obesity

10 March 2017

Dr David Williams

Dr David Williams and the maternal medicine team have been awarded £900,000 from the Medical Research Council (MRC) to investigate whether the chemistry around genes (epigenetic change) is altered with obesity and whether this epigenetic change is reversed with weight-loss (bariatric) surgery. 

The project will start in March 2017 in collaboration with Professor Rachel Batterham, Obesity, Diabetes and Endocrinology, UCL, Professor Vardhman Rakyan, Blizzard Institute, QMUL and Professor Per Magnus of the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort (MoBa Study). These studies are coordinated with ongoing research that is investigating whether epigenetic change in the germline (sperm) of obese fathers can be identified in the blood of their newborn offspring. Taken together, these studies will determine the value of paternal and maternal weight loss before conception to optimize fetal growth and reduce the risk of that newborn to develop obesity and diabetes in later life.