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Kartik Shankar, PhD, DABT

Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Phone: (501) 364-2847
Research Overview

Dr. Shankar is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Developmental Nutrition and an Investigator at the Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center at UAMS. Research in his laboratory is focused on understanding the developmental origins of childhood and adult obesity, specifically the long-term consequences of maternal obesity on the offspring. The research projects involve a wide range of experimental approaches including animal models, cell culture, molecular biology and genomics. The overall objectives of these studies are aimed at gaining a better mechanistic understanding of the physiological basis of fetal programming and through translational studies, provide novel opportunities for effective intervention. The laboratory is primarily interested in elucidating metabolic changes in the offspring and early mechanisms that lead to long-term changes in offspring metabolism. A major emphasis of the group is to employ translational approaches to study developmental programming and utilizes large-scale sequencing-based transcriptomic and epigenetic/ epigenomic approaches (RNA-seq, ChIP-seq and RRBS). Studies examining facets of placental biology and embryonic development relevant to studying gene expression and epigenetic changes due to maternal obesity in animal models and clinical studies are in progress. The laboratory closely works with Dr. Aline Andres (Pediatrics) on the Glowing study and is part of a translational team investigating the role of maternal obesity on the offspring. Dr. Shankar received his PhD in Toxicology from the University of Louisiana and post-doctoral training from UAMS. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology.

Key Publications*

Saben J, Lindsey F, Zhong Y, Thakali K, Badger TM, Andres A, Gomez-Acevedo H, Shankar K.  Maternal obesity is associated with a lipotoxic placental environment. Placenta, 35: 171-177, 2014.

Saben J, Zhong Y, McKelvey S, Dajani NK, Andres A, Badger TM, Andres A, Gomez-Acevedo H, Shankar K. A comprehensive analysis of the human placenta transcriptome. Placenta, 35: 125-131, 2014.

Borengasser SJ, Kang P, Faske JL, Gomez-Acevedo H, Blackburn ML, Badger TM, Shankar K. High fat diet and in utero exposure to maternal obesity disrupts circadian rhythm and leads to metabolic programming of liver in rat offspring. PLoS One. 9: e84209, 2014.

Borengasser SJ, Zhong Y, Kang P, Lindsey F, Ronis MJ, Badger TM, Gomez-Acevedo H, Shankar K. Maternal obesity enhances white adipose tissue differentiation and alters genome-scale DNA methylation in male rat offspring. Endocrinology. 154: 4113-4125, 2013.

Saben J, Zhong Y, Gomez-Acevedo H, Thakali KM, Borengasser SJ, Andres A, Shankar K. Early growth response protein-1 mediates lipotoxicity-associated placental inflammation: role in maternal obesity. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 305: E1-E14, 2013.

Andres A, Shankar K, Badger TM. Body fat mass of exclusively breast-fed infants born to overweight mothers. J. Acad. Nutr. Diet. 112: 991-995, 2012.

Shankar K, Zhong Y, Kang P, Blackburn ML, Badger TM, Soares MJ, and Gomez-Acevedo H. RNA-seq analysis of the functional compartments within the rat placentation site. Endocrinology, 153: 1999-2011, 2012.

Chen JR, Zhang J, Lazarenko OP, Kang P, Blackburn ML, Ronis MJ, Badger TM, Shankar K. Inhibition of fetal bone development through epigenetic down-regulation of HoxA10 in obese rats fed high-fat diet. FASEB J. 26:1131-1141, 2012.

Shankar K, Zhong Y, Kang P, Lau F, Blackburn ML, Chen JR, Borengasser SJ, Ronis MJ, and Badger TM. Maternal obesity promotes a proinflammatory signature in rat uterus and blastocysts. Endocrinology, 152: 4158-4170, 2011.

Borengasser SJ, Lau F, Kang P, Blackburn ML, Ronis MJ, Badger TM and Shankar K. Maternal obesity during gestation impairs fatty acid oxidation and mitochondrial SIRT3 expression in rat offspring at weaning. PLoS One, 6: e24068, 2011.

Shankar K, Kang P, Harrell A, Zhong Y, Marecki JC, Ronis MJ, Badger TM. Maternal overweight programs insulin and adiponectin signaling in the offspring. Endocrinology, 151: 2577-2589, 2010.

Shankar K, Harrell A, Liu X, Gilchrist JM, Ronis MJJ and Badger TM. Maternal obesity at conception programs obesity in the offspring. Am. J. Physiol. Reg. Int. Comp. Physiol. 294: R528-2538, 2008.

Research Support

NIH-NIDDK, R01 DK084225 Role: PI Maternal overweight: consequences for insulin signaling in offspring, 07/2009 - 05/2014.

United States Department of Agriculture. ARS Project CRIS # 6251-51000-005-02S-3A, PI Prevention of obesity in the offspring of obese mothers. 2009 – 2014.

United States Department of Agriculture. ARS Project CRIS # 6251-51000-005-02S-3B. Co-I, Effects of maternal body composition on offspring body phenotype: potential fetal programming (Glowing Study). 2009 – 2014.


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