Laura Woollett, PhD
Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Description of Research

Dr. Woollett’s laboratory is interested in understanding the role of exogenous and endogenous lipids (cholesterol and fatty acids) during different stages of growth. They are investigating if very-low-density lipoprotein and chylomicron production is actually increased during gestation, and how they influence the developing fetuses since the apolipoprotein E containing lipoproteins may have a large impact upon growth. Additionally, Dr. Woollett’s group has shown that murine dams fed a polyunsaturated fatty acid diet will have infants that are 25% larger than infants from dams fed chow. They have let the pups grow to adulthood and found that mice of high birth weight have abnormal glucose metabolism and lipid metabolism. They are studying the temporal-spatial regulation of lipid to explore key physiological end-points for anti-obesity therapies. Dr. Woollett’s laboratory is also exploring pre-clinical studies related to the biology of the Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome (SLOS). People with SLOS have abnormal rates of cholesterol synthesis and have a number of congenital and neurological defects. Based on her earlier work studying transport of cholesterol, she is devising new strategies to enhance cholesterol transport in the fetus.

Collaborations and Core Use

Dr. Woollett collaborates with Dr. Heubi to determine the mechanisms by which dietary bile acids regulate bile acid pool size and with Dr. D’Alessio to study influence of multiple gestations on obesity. Projection of Core use: Integrative Morphology Core.