The University of Tennessee is seeking applicants for a Ph.D. graduate research assistant position in Nutritional Physiology.
The Voy lab, in the Department of Animal Science at the University of Tennessee, is interested in fundamental aspects of adipose tissue biology in animals and humans. In particular, broiler chickens are used as a dual-purpose model in which to identify factors that regulate adipose development early in life. For different reasons, both broiler chickens and humans are at risk of accumulating excess body fat. In chickens, this reduces feed efficiency and impairs fertility and well-being. In humans, obesity increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke and other diseases. In both species, susceptibility to obesity begins early in life, with different consequences. Broiler chicks begin to rapidly accumulate excess fat soon after hatch, resulting in waste of feed as chicks grow to market age. Likewise, ~ 19% of children in the U.S. are overweight or obese by the time they enroll in preschool, which increases their risk for adult obesity and its associated diseases. Therefore strategies to limit the initial deposition of excess fat are necessary for both broilers and humans. The Voy lab focuses on using different types of dietary fat to alter adipose development in a way that limits fat accumulation later in life.
Students in the Voy lab participate in a multidisciplinary research program that integrates physiology, nutrition, genomics and metabolomics to understand the control of adipose development in chickens and humans. Current studies focus on the possibility to developmentally program reduced fat through the maternal diet (e.g., Beckford et al., https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5640664/).