Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Michelle Leu L&S Sciences

The Role of Vitamin A Metabolism in Obesity Prevention

In my research, I plan to investigate the role of vitamin A in obesity prevention. With obesity increasing at alarming rates in the United States in the past twenty years, it is imperative to gain a deeper understanding in the development of the condition. Obesity is influenced by many risk factors such as diet, lifestyle, and genetics. I will explore how vitamin A regulates adipose tissue, observing mice with the Rdh10 gene conditionally deleted in white adipose tissue, and comparing their weight gain to that of wild type control mice. The Rdh10 gene produces RDH10, the enzyme involved in oxidation of vitamin A to retinoic acid, an active metabolite necessary for various physiological processes. I hope to examine the role of RDH10 in adipocyte differentiation and morphology in mice. Understanding this process may generate the potential to treat obesity or regulate weight gain, or at least provide a direction for future research.

Message To Sponsor

SURF gave me an opportunity to not only gain valuable experience working full-time in biological research as an undergraduate student, but to also discover a support group of mentors and also other undergraduate researchers, allowing us to grow together and learn from each other while pursuing our own goals and ambitions. I look forward to an exciting summer of learning and developing skills that I would not have the opportunity to discover in a typical classroom setting, as well as making connections with the other undergraduate researchers.
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Major: Public Health, Nutritional Science
Mentor: Joseph Napoli, Nutritional Science and Toxicology
Sponsor: Pergo Fund
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