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Dr. Thakali’s laboratory investigates mechanisms by which maternal over-nutrition during pregnancy programs offspring vascular function. Her research is centered around studying perivascular adipose tissue (PVAT), an adipose depot surrounding blood vessels and an important paracrine regulator of underlying smooth muscle and endothelial cell function. Obesity is associated with the loss of PVAT-mediated anti-contractile properties, thus contributing to obesity-associated vascular dysfunction and hypertension. While studies suggest that PVAT is a key link between obesity and cardiovascular disease, there is a lack of information regarding how maternal nutritional status, developmental cues, dietary factors, and physical activity affect offspring PVAT function and overall vascular reactivity. Translational studies in Dr. Thakali’s laboratory are focused on assessing the contribution of maternal obesity to early impairments in offspring cardiovascular function.