Summer Research Fellows Pair Up to Study Treatments for Obesity

October 19, 2020

Joseph Current and Caden Jensen spent their summers conducting research to confirm the obesogenic effects of BPS, a substitute for BPA in plastic and food containers, and determining if the antiobesogenic properties of natural compounds can be used to rescue zebrafish from these effects.

Current shared that he was interested in this research because he is interested in contributing knowledge to fighting obesity. The duo is hoping to link other pieces of research together to find a supplemental therapeutic solution to obesity. To date, there aren’t any medications that are routinely used by medical professionals to treat obesity; the only successful treatments recommended by clinicians are behavioral therapy and bariatric surgery. Their potential regime includes natural compounds found in everyday consumables, and if successful, is a novel method to consider obesity as a disease and may be a new treatment protocol.

Current and Jensen’s research has the potential to impact many industries including pharmaceuticals with obesity prescription, health care by adding another option for obesity treatment, food and agriculture because the compounds they are testing are natural and found in everyday diets, and possibly even beauty if the compounds could be isolated and administered topically through beauty products. The research could also prompt future research regarding obesity.

One of the biggest challenges encountered in the research was creating the right conditions for the zebrafish to start producing embryos for use in the experiments. They recently collected their first small batch.

Current shared multiple lessons learned through their research. The biggest was how detail-oriented one has to be to produce a plan and practice research.

“This experience has really shown me the commitment one has to have when working in the sciences, medical or empirical,” he shared.