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Nutrition and Skeletal Health Laboratory

The Nutrition and Skeletal Health Laboratory is a clinical and translational research lab focused on identifying determinants of peak bone mass, specifically with respect to diet and chronic disease.

Active Research Projects

Bone Strength in Youth with Type 2 Diabetes

Over 13 million US adolescents are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, and greater than 366 million people worldwide are expected to develop type 2 diabetes by the year 2030. Compared to type 2 diabetes in adulthood, youth-onset diabetes is a more pervasive condition, associated with an accelerated onset of complications ranging from micro- and macro-vascular complications, kidney failure, and pancreatic beta-cell decline. Adults with type 2 diabetes and children with obesity are at an increased risk for fracture, but the influence of type 2 diabetes on the growing skeleton is unknown. Accordingly, the goal of this project is to understand the influence of type 2 diabetes on the gorwing skeleton. 

This project is funded by the American Diabetes Association, and involves an inter-disciplinary and inter-institutional collaboration between the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. The first study from this project was recently published in Diabetes Care, reporting the first clinical evidence supporting an adverse influence of type 2 diabetes on peak bone mass attainment. Data collection for a clinical study comparing bone microarchitecture and strength between obese youth with normal glucose control and type 2 diabetes is currently ongoing at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. 

Visceral Obesity and Diabetes-Related Cardiovascular Disease in Youth

Visceral fat plays a key role in type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease progression. Gold standard methods for visceral fat assessment including magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography, but excess cost, time, and radiation exposure limit the application of these techniques in pediatric populations and large-scale clinical studies. Recent advancements in dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) technologies allow clinicials and researchers alike to acquire a valid assessment of abdominal fat using a conventional DXA scan. However, it is unknown whether visceral fat from DXA provides added insight with respect to cardiovascular and metabolic risk beyond standard clinical mesures of adiposity such as BMI or waist circumference.

The goal of this project is to assess relationships between visceral fat from DXA and sub-clinical measures of cardiovascular disease (arterial stiffness and atherosclerosis) in a large cohort of youth with healthy weight, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. This study is funded by the University of Georgia Obesity Initiative, and involves an inter-institutional collaboration with Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. Data collection for this study has been completed, and data analyses are ongoing. 

Seeking Applicants

Dr. Kindler is currently seeking applicants interested in training as a graduate research assistant in the Nutrition and Skeletal Health Laboratory. In addition to completing degree requirements for the Ph.D. or Ph.D./D.I. program in the Department of Foods and Nutrition, this individual will assist in developing and overseeing clinical and translational research projects involving nutrition and bone biology. Please contact Dr. Kindler for more information regarding this position. 

Meet the Staff

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