Diabetes and Obesity: Impact on Future Health of Mother and Infant.
Since 2019, it has been my privilege to lead the Harold Hamm Diabetes Center and continue its development as one of the few comprehensive diabetes centers of its kind in the nation. https://www.ouhealth.com/harold-hamm-diabetes-center/about-harold-hamm-diabetes-center/. As the Director of the Harold Hamm Diabetes Center, and Vice-Provost for Diabetes Programs at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, I direct a team of scientists and clinicians interested in the impact of maternal nutrition, obesity, and Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) on the metabolic health of infants and children in the first 1000 days (from conception to 2 years old). We are investigating the causes and consequences of maternal obesity and GDM on developmental programming of obesity and a variety of metabolic diseases in offspring, including co-morbidities in liver, muscle, and adipose tissues. This involved developing novel animal models of pregnancy (mouse, Non-Human Primate) together with invasive clinical investigation of human pregnancy utilizing skeletal muscle and adipose tissue, microbiome, and umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells (MSC)s. Using MSCs from babies born to obese mothers we found these cells were programmed toward adipogenesis, along with epigenetic changes that correlate with mitochondrial dysfunction that predicted rapid infant fat mass again at 5 months of age. Our current studies are broadly focused on miRNAs and the impact of bioactive substances in the microbiome, breast milk, and microbiome on immunophenotyping immune cells, infant adiposity, and pediatric NAFLD, and type 1 diabetes. Clinical trials in humans, non-human primates, and mouse models using nutritional interventions are currently underway to interrupt this vicious cycle.