Feb. 19, 2019

Research explores risk factors behind maternal obesity

Jennifer Thompson's project one of 17 at UCalgary funded by Canadian Institutes of Health Research fall competition
Jennifer Thompson’s research is one of 17 projects at the University of Calgary funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research fall 2018 competition.

Jennifer Thompson’s research is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research for fall 2018.

Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

Studies have shown that babies born to mothers who were obese or diabetic during pregnancy are more prone to developing cardiovascular disease risk factors before adulthood. A research lab led by Dr. Jennifer Thompson, PhD, at the University of Calgary is exploring this pressing prenatal issue. 

Using an animal model, her team is researching the cellular, organ, and organ system level that underlie phenotypic programming vulnerable to disease later in life. This insight is critical to design strategies effective in optimizing long-term outcomes in babies born at risk.

“Given the high prevalence of maternal obesity in countries like Canada and the U.S., we believe that the intrauterine environment is a significant driver of cardiovascular risk factors in the pediatric population, which have now reached epidemic proportion,” says Thompson, an assistant professor in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at the Cumming School of Medicine and member of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute and Libin Cardiovascular Institute.

Thompson’s research is one of 17 projects at UCalgary funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) fall 2018 competition. The funding includes projects that cover a breadth of health research areas including knee injuries, brain development, arthritis pain, and epilepsy.

“We share CIHR’s commitment to improving the health of Canadians and strengthening our health-care system,” says Dr. Andre Buret, interim vice-president (research). “These grants will lead to research discoveries that will address our country’s most pressing health challenges, and we are grateful to CIHR for their continued support.”

Other successful project grant recipients in the CIHR fall 2018 competition include:

  • Steven Boyd: "Advanced Multi-Modal Imaging to Monitor Progressive Joint Adaptation in the Knee Following an Acute Ligament Injury"
  • Khrisendath Chadee: "Characterization of the SNARE Machinery in Colonic Goblet Cells that Regulate MUC2 Mucin Exocytosis in Innate Immunity"
  • Gil Kaplan: "Predicting the Future Burden of the Inflammatory Bowel Diseases: A Study of the Canadian Gastro-Intestinal Epidemiology Consortium"
  • Catherine Lebel: "Brain Development and Internalizing Symptoms in Youth With Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder"
  • Deborah Marshall: "Towards a Patient-Centered System: Integrating Preferences of Patients With Osteoarthritis into Evaluation of Health Services Interventions to Improve Patient Outcomes and Health System Efficiency"
  • Andrew McRae: "Development of Novel Risk Prediction Scores for Emergency Department Patients With Suspected Coronary Artery Disease"
  • Daniel Muruve: "Renal Immune Surveillance in Kidney Injury and Disease"
  • Daniel Niven: "Creating a Living Knowledge Translation Agenda to Improve the Delivery of Evidence-Based Care in Adult Critical Care Medicine"
  • Marc Poulin: "Regulation of Cerebral Blood Flow in Obstructive Sleep Apnea"
  • Hude Quan: "Developing a Computer-Assisted Coding Program to Facilitate Hospital Discharge Abstract Administrative Data Generation"
  • Robert Quinn: "Improving the Outcomes of Peritoneal Dialysis Catheter Insertion
  • Pietro Ravani: "Individualizing the Hemodialysis Access Strategy: Addressing Knowledge Gaps to Promote Shared Decision-Making
  • Jong Rho: "Effects of Cannabidiol on Cellular and Mitochondrial Metabolism: Implications for the Epileptic Brain"
  • Cam Teskey: "Epilepsy and Emotional Comorbidities: Role of the Endocannabinoid System"
  • Tuan Trang: "Regulation of Microglial Pannexin-1 Channels in Arthritis Pain"
  • Cora Voyageur: "Sharing Traditional Knowledge to Increase Intergenerational Cohesion: Effects on Physical, Mental, Spiritual, and Emotional Health"