Obesity - cells
Credit: Margo Emont
Obesity - cells

Obesity and its complications are major threats to future human health. Currently, there are no safe and effective long-term treatments to curb the global obesity epidemic. There are many reasons why some people become obese and others remain lean, and why fat becomes stored in different parts of their bodies, but the genes they inherit play a crucial role.

Institute member Joel Hirschhorn uses human genetics and genomics to identify genes that influence common diseases and quantitative traits, including obesity. Hirschhorn leads a large international consortium (GIANT) that has discovered almost all of the common genetic variants that are known to influence human height and weight.