I work on understanding the initial transition into diet-induced diabetes using the Nile rat (Arvicanthis Niloticus) model. Type 2 diabetes is a multifactorial disease mainly driven by nutritional stresses and the extent of its broad ranging health problems is heavily biased by genetics. We chose the Nile rat model, recently in the Genome Spotlight of TheScientist journal, initially because it presented clinically relevant retinal lesions similar to diabetic retinopathy patients, that were rarely described in other common rodent models of diabetes. More recently, we started investigating the beginning stages of diet-induced diabetes in hopes of reducing the alarming rise in the incidence of type 2 diabetes. Using the Nile rat model, we look into triggers such as maternal nutrition and early weight gain, and study metabolic changes in endocrine organs, specifically the brain-gut axis and the adipose tissues. To address these challenging projects, I am seeking students who can work with our Nile rat colony or bioinformatics.