Obesity is closely associated with dyslipidemia and type 2 diabetes mellitus; however, not all obese individuals develop metabolic complications, highlighting the importance of identifying genetic and environmental factors that place obese individuals at the greatest risk for disease. The expansion of visceral adipose tissue depots predicts the development of insulin resistance and diabetes in an obese population. Alternatively, individuals who preferentially store fat in the subcutaneous region have a lower prevalence of metabolic disease, suggesting that expansion of the subcutaneous adipose depot may be protective.
The main focus of our laboratory is characterizing the contribution of non-adipocyte cells within adipose tissueto insulin resistance and systemic inflammation in both rodent and human models. These unique cells may contribute to whole body metabolism by providing a direct communication between the adipocyte and the systemic circulation, making them potential targets for therapeutic interventions.
In addition to adipose tissue biology, the O. Gupta lab studies behavioral strategies to improving glycemic control in adolescent patients with Type 1 diabetes mellitus. Specifically, we are interested in the impact of responsible pet ownership on the mastery of self-management skills necessary to maintain euglycemia. We hypothesize that responsible pet ownership is associated with responsible management of a chronic medical condition. Our long-term goal is to discover novel, inexpensive and feasible strategies to improve the management of youth with diabetes. To our knowledge, this is the first attempt at measuring the relationship between responsible pet ownership and glycemic control in children. The outcome of this research could help shift the current clinical practice paradigm by introducing a novel and inexpensive approach to the array of options currently available for the management of type 1 diabetes in children.