Susanne Clee

Obesity is associated with an increased risk of many diseases including diabetes, heart disease, cancer and others. The epidemic of obesity we are currently facing is a result of environmental and lifestyle changes interacting with genetic susceptibility factors.

Understanding these factors and how they contribute to obesity may provide new clues about ways we can promote or help sustain weight loss. Similarly, understanding the genetic factors that cause some overweight individuals to develop type 2 diabetes may give us important clues about how to prevent diabetes. Because of the large effects of diet, exercise, and other lifestyle and environmental factors on these diseases, identification of the genetic factors in humans is difficult.

Therefore, Dr. Susanne Clee’s research uses mouse models, where we can control all the other factors. She is currently narrowing in on the identification of a new obesity gene. Her team has studied new mouse models and found that the genetic variation they contain results in some remarkable traits, including a complete resistance to the effects of a high fat diet and an improved ability to secrete insulin. These will be the focus of future genetic studies.

Recent Publications

Lee KT, Karunakaran S, Ho MM, Clee SM. PWD/PhJ and WSB/EiJ mice are resistant to diet-induced obesity but have abnormal insulin secretion. Endocrinology. 2011 Aug;152(8):3005-17. doi: 10.1210/en.2011-0060. Epub 2011 Jun 14. (PubMed abstract)

Karunakaran S, Manji A, Yan CS, Wu ZJ, Clee SM. Moo1 obesity quantitative trait locus in BTBR T+ Itpr3tf/J mice increases food intake. Physiol Genomics. 2013 Mar 1;45(5):191-9. doi: 10.1152/physiolgenomics.00159.2012. Epub 2013 Jan 22. (PubMed abstract)

Yoganathan P, Karunakaran S, Ho MM, Clee SM. Nutritional regulation of genome-wide association obesity genes in a tissue-dependent manner. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2012 Jul 10;9(1):65. doi: 10.1186/1743-7075-9-65. (PubMed abstract)

Ho MM, Yoganathan P, Chu KY, Karunakaran S, Johnson JD, Clee SM. Diabetes genes identified by genome-wide association studies are regulated in mice by nutritional factors in metabolically relevant tissues and by glucose concentrations in islets. BMC Genet. 2013 Feb 25;14:10. doi: 10.1186/1471-2156-14-10. (PubMed abstract)

Bhatnagar S, Oler AT, Rabaglia ME, Stapleton DS, Schueler KL, Truchan NA, Worzella SL, Stoehr JP, Clee SM, Yandell BS, Keller MP, Thurmond DC, Attie AD. Positional cloning of a type 2 diabetes quantitative trait locus; tomosyn-2, a negative regulator of insulin secretion. PLoS Genet. 2011 Oct;7(10):e1002323. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1002323. Epub 2011 Oct 6. (PubMed abstract)