LifeLab showcased on BBC2 programme

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Our NIHR Biomedical Research Centre’s LifeLab featured in the Horizon programme “Why are we getting so fat?” which explores the latest cutting-edge research into the causes of obesity.

Educating the next generation

Southampton’s LifeLab is a state-of-the-art teaching laboratory that gives school students the opportunity to learn first-hand the science behind lifelong health.

It aims to educate young people on the health benefits of a good diet and active lifestyle, and how the choices they make during their lifetime can affect not only their own health, but also the health of their future children.   

On arrival at Southampton General Hospital, director of the NIHR BRC, Prof Keith Godfrey, greeted the programme’s presenter Dr Giles Yeo. Prof Godfrey explained how the centre’s research shows an unhealthy diet not only during, but also before, pregnancy can predispose a child to obesity.

Dr Yeo met a group of school students at LifeLab learning about the science behind this discovery, experiencing hands-on the techniques we use in our research.

Pointing to the striking difference in the pattern of bands on a DNA gel taken from offspring with mothers who had healthy or unhealthy diets, LifeLab’s Dr Kathryn Woods-Townsend explained how these results showed that the health choices we make during our lifetime affect our child’s DNA and risk of obesity.

The human side of research

Dr Yeo is a geneticist at the University of Cambridge researching the genetic variants which predispose people to obesity. Through the programme, he aimed to explore the human side of his research, to better understand the complex reasons why people get fat.

During the programme, he met researchers in the UK and USA exploring new ways we can fight obesity, from surgery and injections to change our appetite to faecal transplants and special diets to boost the number of beneficial bacteria living in our gut, as well as the influence of our genes and our parents’ lifestyles.          

Dr. Yeo was full of praise for the LifeLab facility. “As a researcher I love this place; as a parent I love this place,” he comments.

Posted on Wednesday 3 August 2016