Recent years have seen a dramatic rise in the incidence of diabetes and obesity worldwide, impacting all social and economic groups. The impact of these risk factors on human health has resulted in a resurgence of interest in understanding the mechanisms that underlie metabolic control. The Thummel lab uses the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, as a simple genetic model to study metabolic control. Drosophila have been used for over a century to define central aspects of normal development and the causes of inherited disorders. The remarkable lesson from these studies is that many genes and pathways discovered in the fly carry over though evolution, and can be used to understand key aspects of human biology and the causes of human disease.
The goal of research in the Thummel lab is to use Drosophila as a tool to define the central pathways that control metabolism, with implications for how these pathways act in all higher animals, including humans, and how misregulation of these pathways contributes to the onset of diabetes and obesity.
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