|Queer (gay/bi), grew up poor.
My central research questions involve primate development and life history and incorporate techniques from behavioral ecology, morphology, and genomics in two primate models: New World atelins and Old World vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus spp.). My work, recently published in the International Journal of Obesity, shows that vervets have significant and high heritability of obesity phenotypes and evidence of significantly different developmental trajectories in chronically obese and non-obese adults. Furthermore, the genomic regions associated with these obesity phenotypes appear to be the same associated with metabolic disorders in humans. This work also found a significant influence of maternal diet during gestation on growth and adult-onset obesity in male vervets, suggesting maternal programming of offspring fat deposition consistent with the thrifty phenotype hypothesis. In collaboration with the Center for Precision Medicine, I am investigating this more closely by analyzing patterns of RNAseq-based gene expression and methylation in the skeletal muscle and adipose tissue of vervets gestated on and exposed to varying diets.