Grad Student Awarded $26K from American Heart Association

Posted On January 10, 2016
Categories Obesity-Reversal

labcoat_picThe American Heart Association awarded a $26,000 Predoctoral Fellowship grant to Emily Bruggeman, a Ph.D. candidate in Dr. Bingzhong Xue’s lab, for her dissertation research project titled “The Role of DNA Methyltransferase 1 in Energy Regulation and Obesity.” The American Heart Association Predoctoral Fellowship provides funding for doctoral students who are conducting research broadly related to cardiovascular function and disease and stroke, or to related clinical, basic science, bioengineering or biotechnology, and public health problems, including multidisciplinary efforts. This fellowship provides stipend support, as well as funds for research-related travel and some research expenses, to Emily for one year.


Obesity is strongly associated with the development of many life-threatening cardiovascular diseases (such as hypertension, atherosclerosis and congestive heart failure). Drugs or therapies that attenuate obesity will lead to a dramatic reduction of obesity-associated cardiovascular disorders. DNA methylation is an epigenetic modification that regulates gene expression, and it is critical for normal development and function of organs. Dnmt1 is an enzyme that catalyzes DNA methylation. Environment or experience can alter normal methylation patterns, which can lead to disease and dysfunction. Altered methylation patterns can even be passed on to future generations. Obesity has been associated with altered methylation patterns of neuronal genes that control energy and metabolism. Thus, investigating the role of altered brain methylation patterns in energy regulation is an exciting and promising area in the field of obesity research. Dr. Nancy Forger is a Co-Sponsor on this grant.