Dr. Gilbert studies the factors that regulate fat deposition in animals.
The amount and location of fat in an animal's body has a profound effect on energy metabolism and health outcomes. The driving question in Dr. Gilbert's laboratory is how to direct energy to promote lean muscle accretion and limit fat deposition to certain parts of the body. She is interested in identifying naturally-occurring compounds that can influence different stages of the adipocyte life cycle, as preventative and therapeutic strategy for treating obesity and as a strategy to target selective lipid deposition in livestock. In one project, Dr. Gilbert is testing flavonoids--natural plant compounds-- as modulators of adipocyte differentiation and apoptosis. In a second project, Dr. Gilbert is looking at adipocyte development and epigenetic regulation of gene expression in different depots of chicken, swine, and rodent models. She is looking at the role of growth factor IGF2 in muscle development and fat deposition, and chromatin remodeling in different tissues, ages, and nutritional states. These studies attempt to answer questions important to plants, livestock, and human health.