Obesity Immunology Research Group
The Research Challenge:
Obesity is the leading cause of preventable death worldwide. Ireland ranks amongst the highest for obesity rates. The Obesity Immunology Research Group’s programme of research focuses on 2 major questions; (1) how obesity causes diseases such as type II diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease and cancer. (2) How do we regulate our bodyweight?
What we are doing:
Our research primarily focuses on the immune system. The immune system is designed to protect us from infection and cancer, but when it goes wrong it can also cause disease. In obese patients, some parts of the immune system are exhausted whilst others are overactive and causing inflammation, together these defects underpin diseases such as type II diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease and cancer. We are trying to understand the mechanisms and triggers for the defects in the immune system, which we hope will allow us to target the immune system and prevent these diseases.
We are also interested in the role the immune system plays in bodyweight. Emerging evidence suggests that the immune system plays an important role in how the body stores and uses energy. We are investigating the interplay between the bodies hormonal system and the immune system. The ultimate goal is to harness the power of the immune system in the fight against obesity.
Who we are:
- Prof Donal O’Shea – Consultant Endocrinologist
- Dr Andrew Hogan – Principal Investigator
- Dr Helen Heneghan – Consultant Bariatric Surgeon