CoRE-funded Researcher: Dr You-Ying Chau

CoRE-funded Researcher: Dr You-Ying Chau

I was born in Taiwan and moved to New Zealand with my family before coming to Edinburgh to do my PhD.  My research interests have always been about understanding disease mechanisms. I am fascinated by the developmental processes and the lessons that one can learn by carefully analysing an organ.

Current Research Interests

Adipose tissue origins, heterogeneity, functions and regulatory mechanisms

Research Interests

Obesity is a one of the leading health concerns of the 21st century. Despite the obesity epidemic, our understanding of the regulation of fat mass is limited. Fat mass in our body exists as multiple ‘fat depots’. It has been posited that each fat depot could be considered a separate mini- organ. One area in the field of adipose tissue that has remained unclear till our work was the developmental origin of adipose tissue. My findings on visceral white adipose progenitors and origins have come through studying the Wilms Tumour gene, WT1. We have shown that visceral (‘bad’) and subcutaneous (‘good’) white adipose tissues (WAT) have different developmental origins. Wt1 marks a novel population of adipose progenitors in the visceral WAT and mesothelium is a novel source of visceral fat.

The research in my group is directed toward further understanding the origins and heterogeneity of adipose tissue and elucidating the molecular mechanisms that regulate fat mass and contribute to the development of obesity and obesity associated diseases. We focus on characterising fat progenitor/ stem cells and the molecular processes that control the proliferation, differentiation, and function of these cells. We combine mouse/human genetics and use primary cell culture, genomic and proteomic approaches to study the events from normal adipose tissue development to obesity.