Our laboratory was established in May 2011. We are part of the Center for Basic and Translational Obesity Research at Boston Children's Hospital. The Center for Basic and Translational Obesity Research is an exciting new research program at the Division of Endocrinology at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, whose goal is to improve our understanding of how people become obese or suffer from complications of obesity, and to help translate research findings into better treatments. The Director of the Center is Dr. Joel Hirschhorn and Drs Nada Kalaany and Nicholas Stylopoulos are the other two Faculty members of the Center.
The goals of our laboratory are:
1) to “reverse engineer” weight loss surgery, especially Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass (RYGB), which is currently the most effective treatment option for severe obesity
2) to study weight loss surgery in order to discover new biology and understand metabolism and weight regulation.
3) to study weight loss surgery in order to develop new, alternative, less invasive treatments for obesity. The projects of our laboratory focus on specific targets that could lead to the development of novel treatments for obesity and its metabolic complications. These new treatments will be based on specific pathways that are affected by RYGB.
Using animal models of weight loss surgery, we have identified potential mechanisms by which RYGB induces weight loss and resolution of complications such as diabetes and fatty liver disease. Our laboratory examines these mechanisms in order to develop and study drug candidates and drug combination treatments that would reproduce the effects of RYGB, using its physiologic mechanisms, without the invasiveness of surgery. Thus, we will eventually be able to "bypass the bypass".
The study of surgery, using animal models, represents a unique opportunity to unravel the mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects of surgery on body weight, metabolism, glucose homeostasis, inflammation and cancer.
The lab uses animal models that have been developed by Dr Stylopoulos, who has more than 10 years of experience on development and phenotypic characterization of animal models of weight loss surgery. The procedures closely resemble the steps of human operations. tAfter weight loss surgery, the models live healthy lives and exhibit many similar outcomes to humans who have had the procedure (e.g., weight loss, improvement of diabetes and comorbidities). Thus, the animal model system that we have developed represents a powerful, novel, translational and clinically relevant model system to study regulation of energy balance and metabolic function. A few of the phenotypic characteristics of the models are shown in the pictures below.
From phenotype to mechanistic and translational studies
The projects of our laboratory focus on 1) the mechanisms underlying the phenotypic characteristics of the animal models and 2) the translation of findings and the study of human patients.
Our lab webpage will be updated often. We will be adding experimental protocols that our laboratory uses, we will add information about our specific projects and studies and we will include all the news and literature updates on the mechanisms of weight loss surgery.
Our laboratory and our Institution are committed to the highest standards of respectful, humane care of animals.