B.S., Environmental Science, University of Arizona
Ph.D., Cardiovascular Pharmacology, Michigan State University
Dr. Thakali has a broad background in cardiovascular physiology and joined the ACNC in September 2011. When she is not in the lab, she is an avid mountain biker and rock climber.
Broadly, Dr. Thakali is interested in maternal programming and development of the cardiovascular system in health and disease. Current research projects in her lab include studying how maternal diet affects offspring cardiovascular function, specifically looking at perivascular adipose tissue function, studying the role of platelets in mediating obesity-associated perivascular adipose tissue dysfunction, and studying how reductions in dietary methionine intake modify perivascular adipose tissue function.
Many women entering pregnancy are either overweight or obese and it is known that maternal obesity during pregnancy is associated with increased risk of offspring obesity and cardiovascular disease. Dr. Thakali’s research seeks to determine specific mechanisms that drive this increased cardiovascular disease risk, and to understand how maternal nutrition and nutrition during development impact this risk. She is particularly interested in the role of perivascular adipose tissue (PVAT), an adipose depot surrounding blood vessels and an important paracrine regulator of underlying smooth muscle and endothelial cell function. 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. Dr. Thakali’s research focus is part of an ACNC systems-based approach to characterize how maternal nutrition and physical activity impact offspring health and well-being.