Research profile for Obesity research
The Section for Obesity Research conducts physiological and clinical research into appetite regulation and energy conversion aiming at preventing and treating obesity and related lifestyle diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
The section carries out research into genetic, physiological, behavioural, psychological, medical and surgical factors related to obesity.
The section is also responsible for basic physiological and genetic research into human appetite regulation and energy metabolism. Within its field, the section is leading in Denmark and Europe at carrying out clinical studies (randomised controlled trials) on obese patients in accordance with the Good Clinical Practice (GCP) quality standard.
The effect of a number of different lifestyle factors, including diet, food groups, food components, bioactive foods and physical activity, is investigated in shorter and longer intervention trials in adults in relation to appetite, weight loss and weight-loss maintenance, energy metabolism and the hormones and neurotransmitters involved in these physiological processes. The influence of non-nutritional, behavioural and environmental factors such as sleep, stress and intestinal bacterial composition in regulating energy balance is also investigated.
The Section for Obesity Research primarily works with randomised dietary intervention studies, where a group of subjects participates in a short or long-term intervention involving diet, dietary supplements or medicinal products, usually in combination with other behavioural changes. The participants are monitored before, during and after the intervention period.
The department has a wide range of facilities, including whole-body respiration chambers and ventilated hood systems for measuring energy expenditure, DXA scanners for measuring body composition, a fully equipped test kitchen for assessing appetite, accelerometers to measure levels of physical activity and sleep, dieticians who provide dietary counselling, nurses and doctors who dispense medicine and register any signs of disease, bioanalysts who collect biological samples (blood, fat and muscle biopsies, urine, saliva and stool samples) and laboratory equipment for analysing substrates and hormones related to the subject’s nutritional state and metabolic state as well as risk for various diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
Moreover, we collaborate with other research institutes and hospitals, for example on the use of different imaging technologies such as MRI scanning, on measuring maximum oxygen uptake, and on analysing the composition of bacteria in the gut. These resources allow us to produce very detailed phenotypic characterizations of our study volunteers.
Our studies are conducted in accordance with the study protocol, the current version of the Helsinki Declaration (64th WMA General Assembly, Fortaleza, Brazil, October 2013) and ICH-GCP (International Conference on Harmonization E6 Good Clinical Practice) to the extent possible and relevant in daily cooperation with the department’s GCP coordinator. Our research complies with all national laws and regulations concerning human research, for example approval by the Research Ethics Committee (VEK) or by other authorities.