Adipose Tissue Diversity in Infants, Children, and Adolescents
Adipose tissue plays a central role in growth, metabolic homeostasis, regulation of appetite, control of body temperature, and regulation of nutrients that change dramatically in early life. This project seeks to generate a comprehensive atlas of changes in adipose tissue throughout childhood at single-cell resolution using transcriptomic and epigenomic profiling.
Adipose tissue depots are distributed throughout the body, and their anatomic location plays a critical role in adipose tissue development, adaptability, function, and risk for future disease. Developmental transitions from infancy to childhood to adolescence are associated with changes in the pattern of growth of adipose tissue depending on location and sex. The mechanisms by which adipose tissue distribution is patterned in children is a major gap in knowledge.
This project seeks to close gaps in our understanding of adipose tissue biology in children by generating an atlas of adipose tissue cellular diversity in abdominal, subcutaneous, and cardiac depots that are known contributors to child and adult health. Due to the dramatic remodeling of adipose tissue in adolescents, the influence of early adolescence and puberty on adipose tissue composition will be a key goal of the project. Technical contributions will include new methods of trajectory analysis using multi-omic data integration and single nuclear sequencing approaches to include adipocytes in analyses that are lost with other single-cell approaches. Completing this project will set the stage to understand how diseases rooted in adipose tissue dysfunction such as obesity, metabolic syndrome, and Type 2 diabetes begin in children.