Xiaolin Xu

Undergraduate Student Receives Award to Study Obesity Influences on Heart Function During Pregnancy

Congratulations to Xiaolin Xu, a junior majoring in Human Nutrition, who received a UK Undergraduate Summer Research and Creativity Fellowship from the Chellgren Center for Undergraduate Excellence. With this award, she will work with Dr. Robin Shoemaker, assistant professor in the department of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, to examine the effects of obesity during pregnancy on fibrosis in hearts of mice fed a high-fat diet. Their research goal is to understand how obesity influences heart function during pregnancy, including long-term effects.

“Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in women and also the number one cause of maternal mortality,” said Shoemaker. “Very little is known about how obesity affects heart function during and after pregnancy. With maternal mortality on the rise in the United States, more research is needed on this topic.”

With plans for advanced education after completing her undergraduate degree, Xu looks forward to the benefits that come from experiential learning. “Ultimately, I would like to be a professor,” said Xu, “This research project gives me an opportunity to understand how to design research studies and practice experimental skills, which will help me prepare for graduate school.”