Leah Solberg Woods, Ph.D.
Professor, Molecular MedicineWake Forest School of Medicine
My laboratory uses outbred rats to study the genetics of obesity and other complex traits. We use sophisticated genetic and statistical tools to identify candidate genes and then employ both in vivo and in vitro models to both validate these genes and understand underlying gene function.
I received a PhD in Neuroscience from Northwestern University and have been using rodent models to understand the genetics underlying complex traits since that time. I learned about outbred heterogeneous stock rats for genetic fine-mapping during my first post-doctoral fellowship with Dr. Jonathan Flint at Oxford University. I then had a second post-doctoral fellowship with Dr. Howard Jacob at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Since becoming an independent investigator, I have used genetic rodent models to identify genes involved in susceptibility to obesity and other metabolic traits. We are particularly interested in how diet-induced changes in the brain interact with genetic make-up to pre-dispose individuals to obesity and are also interested in investigating the relationship between obesity and behavior.