Professor Ruth Loos’ research focuses on identifying the key genetic and non-genetic determinants of body weight regulation to gain insight into the underlying biology of obesity and to improve prediction, prevention and treatment through personalized strategies. The DNRF Chair award will allow her to build a precision health cohort, with the ultimate aim of personalizing lifestyle recommendations for optimal health.
Her research program comprises three main projects. In the first project, she aims to gain insight into the deeper layers of biology that underlie body weight regulation and fat distribution, through the discovery of genes and genetic variations that are associated with obesity and other adiposity traits. In the second project, she will use deep phenotyping and recall-by-genotype studies to identify the genetic and non-genetic determinants of body weight in individuals at both high and low genetic risk for obesity.
The DNRF Chair concerns the third project, in which she will build a precision health cohort to identify key predictors of metabolic response to diet and exercise, with the goal of developing precise lifestyle recommendations to help people optimize their health. Current weight loss guidelines – i.e. eat less, exercise more – assume that “one-size-fits-all”, which works for a select few, but certainly not for everyone. This points to a growing interest in – and need for – the personalization of medicine. Professor Loos’ team will deeply characterize 1,000 individuals over time. Based on the enormous amount of information collected, she will build machine learning algorithms that can predict individual metabolic responses to diet and exercise.