BIRCWH project title: Fetal Programming of Skeletal Muscle Metabolism
Current research focus: My work is focused on understanding the initiation and progression of insulin resistance and subsequent metabolic disease at the cell and molecular level.This includes continued studies on the Developmental Program of Health and Disease (DOHAD) and specifically on the role of maternal diet and obesity on the metabolism in the offspring.
How Dr. McCurdy became interested in this work: My path to working in the area of pregnancy and maternal-fetal research happened in steps and was shaped by the great mentors that I encountered in my career. During my postdoctoral fellowship, Drs. Jacob Friedman and Lynn Barbour provided me my first opportunities to apply my basic science skills to clinical and translational research questions related to insulin resistance in pregnancy and the impact of obesity and diabetes in pregnancy on the health and well-being of the child. I found working in translational research to be rewarding and I was excited that our findings could help shape clinical practice. With support from the BIRCWH fellowship, I was able to develop a research program that combined my strengths in wet lab molecular metabolism with my interest in maternal-fetal research.
Clinical significance of this research: Over 60% of the population is overweight or obese. Insulin resistance is a common underlying precursor for most metabolic diseases and cancers. Understanding the primary drivers of insulin resistance can lead to better treatments or interventions.
Relevance of this work to women's health or sex/gender differences: The majority of my work is focused on understanding how maternal health shapes the lifelong health of the offspring.