Laboratory of Nutritional Energetics and Body Composition Regulation
Throughout much of their evolutionary history, the mammalian species (including humans) have been faced with periodic food shortages, specific nutrient deficiencies and sometimes food abundance. Within such a lifestyle of famine and feast, specialized mechanisms that modulate the body's rate of metabolism (and hence production of heat) for the purpose of energy conservation, but also for energy wastage, have evolved to the extent that they constitute key control systems in the regulation of body weight and body composition.
Such notions of homeostatic heat production (adaptive thermogenesis) have origins ever since Claude Bernard (1876) pointed out the role of the internal environment in dampening the impact of external stresses on the body. However, a mechanistic explanation of how these control systems - operating through changes in heat production - enable the body to make such adaptive adjustments in metabolic efficiency to these nutritional stresses is still to-day a poorly understood area of mammalian physiology.
Their elucidations have important implications for understanding how the body’s fat mass and lean mass are regulated, for unraveling key pathways implicated in the pathogenesis of cachexia, obesity and disease entities of the metabolic syndrome (i.e. type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases), and hence for the development of more effective strategies in the management of cachexia, obesity and obesity-related diseases.
Main lines of research
Metabolic health: Obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular risks
Mechanisms underlying adaptive thermogenesis in weight regulation
Mechanisms underlying the recovery of lean & fat tissue during weight regain
Phenotyping for thrifty metabolic traits in young adults humans born small
Bioactive food ingredients as modulators of thermogenesis, fat oxidation, insulin sensitivity
Body composition & cardiometabolic risks in the diabetes-prone people of Mauritius island