Dr Adam Watkins

Adam Watkins

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Research interests

The development of adult-onset non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease are associated typically with adult lifestyle characteristics including sedentary behaviour, malnutrition and smoking. Studies in humans and animal models have however, identified strong associations between adult cardiovascular and metabolic disease risk and environmental perturbations experienced during early development. My own studies in the mouse, have shown that a maternal gestational low protein diet (LPD, 9% casein) fed exclusively during pre-implantation embryonic development (first 3.5 days of gestation) affect adult offspring growth and adiposity, behaviour and cardiovascular and metabolic regulation.

Whilst the developmental consequences of manipulating the maternal environment has received significant analysis, the impact of paternalphysiology and nutrition on the programming of adult-offspring cardiovascular and metabolic health remains largely under-investigated. My most recent studies have extended the well-established rodent maternal LPD model to determine the impact of paternal nutrition prior to conception on adult-offspring cardiovascular and metabolic phenotype. Whist paternal LPD had minimal effect on stud fertility, sperm from LPD fed males displayed global DNA hypomethylation and induced altered uterine responses in mated females. Adult offspring from LPD fed males, developed adult hypotension, elevated adiposity (total fat mass) and serum TNF-α levels, impaired glucose tolerance and vascular dysfunction when compared to offspring from the control normal protein diet fed stud males.


Therefore, my current research aims to understand better (i) the separate role of sperm and seminal plasma in offspring health programming; (ii) the consequences of altered DNA methylation for sperm function and post-fertilisation development and, (iii) the impact of aging, both in the stud male and offspring, on sperm development and the progression of ill health in the mouse.

  1. Big Bang Science Festival

    Activity: Other activity typesTypes of Public engagement and outreach - Schools engagement

  2. Rank Prize Funds mini-symposium

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

  3. SSR's 46th annual meeting

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

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Employable Graduates; Exploitable Research

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