Dr. ELIZABeth DuPriest, Assistant Professor of Biology, has been awarded a College Life Sciences Grant from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust for a project titled "Roles of Growth Hormone and Reduced Adipocyte Differentiation in Driving Low Adiponectin Gene Expression in Growth Restricted Microswine Offspring." The generous grant will provide stipends for a student researcher and for Dr. DuPriest to conduct research over the next two summers, as well as expenses for reagents and equipment.
"I submitted an application last October which included a research plan, a proposed budget for the project, information about my academic and research training, and previous work," said DuPriest. "I am very excited about the opportunity."
The research that Dr. DuPriest will conduct is an extension of ten years of work with Susan Bagby, M.D. from Oregon Health Science University / Portland VA Medical Center.
"Our field is called developmental origins of health and disease (DOHAD)," said DuPriest. "Specifically, we study how a low protein diet during late pregnancy affects the way offspring grow and develop. We've found that the offspring exposed to maternal protein restriction (we call them LPO for "low protein offspring") grow slowly during and after birth until weaning. About a week after weaning, the LPO begin to grow very rapidly, so they actually have the same amount of body fat as controls by the end of the study (they're not obese). Unfortunately, there's something different about how the fat tissue (adipose tissue) grows, so the adipose cells are different sizes than controls, and adipose-derived hormones are not regulated that way they're supposed to be. One of those hormones is called adiponectin, which seems to be reduced in LPO. Adiponectin is a good hormone that protects the heart and blood vessels, and protects against diabetes. The grant will allow us to look at how growth hormone (which we presume would be high in LPO experiencing accelerated growth) may indirectly affect adiponectin production and adipose cell growth."
"We are extremely excited and proud for Dr. DuPriest, our students, and our department," said Bart Valentine, Chair of Warner Pacific's Department of Natural Science and Health. "We feel research is such an important mission for an institution of higher education, and this grant will allow for both Dr. DuPriest and our most outstanding science students to be actively involved in relevant research right here on our campus."