The primary goal of the Natarajan Lab is to elucidate the cytoprotective roles of dietary nutrients in combating against placental complications that can occur during pregnancy such as Acute fatty liver of pregnancy, Zika virus infection, and maternal obesity.
Cytoprotection is a process by which chemical compounds provide protection to cells against harmful agents. Through our research, we have identified palmitoleate, an omega-7 monosaturated fatty acid as a cytoprotective nutrient. Foods such as macadamia nuts contain high levels of palmitoleate which can be used as a potential dietary therapy against placental complications as well as a preventative measure against the adverse consequence of placental damage to unborn babies.
Our long term goals:
- Develop a nutraceutical approach to mitigate liver and placental lipotoxicity that occurs during acute fatty liver of pregnancy and maternal obesity, respectively
- Elucidating the protective role of dietary-palmitoleate supplementation in preventing against Zika virus-induced placenta and fetal brain infection