The research project aims to define the genetic factors that determine where fat is distributed in the human body and to find out why, in many cases, fat is being deposited inside the liver and, therefore, causing a fatty liver, which is detrimental to health.
Professor Jimmy Bell and Dr Louise Thomas, specialists in fatty liver research from the Department of Life Sciences in the Faculty of Science and Technology are leading Westminster’s part in the project.
The outcome of the research will enable health professionals to identify people who are at a higher risk of developing a fatty liver and offer interventions to prevent its development.
Speaking about the grant Professor Jimmy Bell said: “By supporting this multidisciplinary project, the grant will give us a quite unique opportunity to determine the extent to which the genetic makeup of a person determines their risk of developing fatty liver and eventually type 2 diabetes.”
Researchers from the University of Exeter have already come up with a genetic risk score, which is a way of identifying and calculating together all the genes that determine where fat is distributed instead of looking at individual ones as many our genes that have little effect on fat distribution.