Adenovirus-36 may be responsible for some of the obesity epidemic?

I put up a little video today about the adenovirus that causes obesity. I think it’s interesting topic. The Allen lab has been working on Aptamers against viruses since last year. So maybe I have something to contribute to that. Last time I went after an obesity related topic, my grant application was rejected because I’m not a clinician and I’m not working with one.

I would really love to find a clinician with whom I could work on this or similar. Example: I would love to develop a sensitive, point-of-care virus assay that would tell a clinician if a person was currently infected with adenovirus-36. Maybe then we could screen for a before and after case where someone was not obese until they caught the virus. Then we could point to the actual event and then show that that person got fat afterward. It would be a vindication of the hypothesis that the virus actually causes obesity and is not merely associated with it. We can’t deliberately infect people with the virus, but we could catch them during the infection. I could develop the assay, but I can’t work with the patients.

I like working back from big problems to the sorts of projects that we could do in the Allen lab. I make a little mind map in the video. I’m not confident that that’s the best way to actually get funding, though. I suspect that to get a grant, I need to work through human connections and collaborations. “Who is an expert with whom I can work?” may be a more effective question than “What is an interesting problem?”


Further reading:

Wired article

Physiological society article on the same topic

Gary Taubes’ Book: Why we get fat

The Onion article on a related topic