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keywords Branched-Chain Amino Acids
overview I am a postdoctoral fellow working with Dr. Elisabet Borsheim at the Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center (ACNC). I have been instrumental in several ongoing clinical trials through hands-on clinical experience and bench work in the wet laboratory. In my first year as a postdoctoral fellow, I have published two manuscripts as a first author (not including two manuscripts from my doctoral work that are also first-authored), and successfully secured internal funding to continue my own work through a postdoctoral grant mechanism. My research interest and trajectory are motivated by obtaining a comprehensive understanding of the programming of childhood obesity to treat pediatric obesity and its comorbidities, including the metabolic mechanisms by which this programming occurs. Thus far, I have been able to determine that obesity is a major contributing factor to many maternal complications during pregnancy (e.g., the relationship between dietary protein intake and insulin resistance, and the relationship between plasma branched-chain fatty acids and insulin resistance). However, it is now critical for me to determine how maternal health can contribute to offspring health. Therefore, my short-term goal is to investigate the maternal programming of childhood obesity through exploring the effect of maternal obesity status on offspring energy and substrate metabolism in early life. I am also interested in and have been exploring the debated relationship between plasma BCAA concentrations and insulin resistance in pregnancy. My long-term goal is to transition to an independent, tenure-track faculty position in the field of childhood obesity prevention research. These accomplishments will enable me to better serve and educate pregnant women and families through cutting-edge research with a goal of improved and optimal health of mother-to-be and her child.

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