Margarita De L Teran-Garcia

Dr. Margarita De L Teran-Garcia

Human nutrition; gene- nutrient interactions of humans; the role of genetic and environmental influences on the development of obesity.Obesity and its related diseases are now a worldwide health and socio-economical burden. Although it is likely that the growing epidemic of obesity is primarily related to unhealthy diets and lack of exercise, heritability studies indicate that genetic factors account for 30 to 70% of the predisposition to excessive weight gain. Despite the progress in identifying some monogenic causes of obesity, the progress in defining the genetic basis of common obesity has been proven to be a complex task.  Obesity increases the risk of developing diseases such as insulin resistance and diabetes, altered lipoprotein metabolism, hypertension and cardiovascular disease, some forms of cancer, sleep apnea, and osteoarthritis. These obesity-related diseases have also a genetic component.The goal of my research is to expand on the knowledge of gene-environment interactions. Our individual genetic profile interacts with the environment to allow a gene or groups of genes in different metabolic pathways to adapt to changes in diet or exercise and many other environmental factors, to maintain a healthy status. As we understand more about gene-environment interactions, individualized recommendations for preventing obesity and obesity-related diseases will become more accessible and reliable. My research group investigates nutrient-gene, exercise-gene and other gene-environment interactions in children and adults from diverse populations.We will use high-throughput systems to genotype markers and real-time RT-PCR for gene expression analysis. These data will be integrated with anthropometric measurements, life-style factors and blood metabolic profiles to investigate genetic associations. We intend to use these techniques to identify genes that might be associated with obesity and related diseases. Our goal is to find early diagnosis markers that will help in the development of effective and individualized interventions directed at preventing childhood and adult obesity, and the morbidity due to obesity-related diseases.


Assistant Professor; teranmd@illinois.edu; more detail here.