Leah Solberg Woods, PhD
Associate Professor, Pediatrics
Specialization: Genetics of Type 2 Diabetes
Solberg Woods Lab
My lab is interested in identifying genes involved in type 2 diabetes using rat models. Type 2 diabetes is a growing health problem with over 360 million people worldwide projected to be affected by 2030. It is a complex disorder affected by multiple environmental and genetic components. While a large number of chromosomal locations, or quantitative trait loci (QTL), have been identified for diabetes related phenotypes in animal models, very few causative genes have been found.
My lab is using a unique genetic resource, heterogeneous stock rats, to narrow the region of previously identified QTLs involved in diabetes related phenotypes. Heterogeneous stock rats are unique in that they are outbred from eight inbred rat strains such that the chromosomal make-up of the progeny is a mosaic of the founding inbred strains. After 50 generations of outbreeding, on average, a recombination event has occurred every 2 centiMorgans. This high degree of recombination enables the fine mapping of QTLs. This fine-mapping not only decreases the number of possible candidate genes, but also makes sequencing of the entire region possible. By sequencing this region we hope to identify the genes and/or variants involved in the etiology and/or progression of type 2 diabetes.