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Lifestyle, Obesity, and Epigenetic Programming in Type 1 and Gestational Diabetes

Unraveling the interplay of early lifestyle, obesity, and epigenetic factors in the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes is essential to develop prevention strategies.

We are focusing on molecular mechanisms underlying the early programming of islet autoimmunity, type 1 diabetes, and childhood obesity.

The period from conception to the first years of life is crucial for the development of long-term metabolic health.

A better understanding of protective and risk factors encountered during early life is essential for the design of targeted intervention studies. The focus of this research area is to study the impact of early exposures, including maternal diabetes and life-style factors, on the development of type 1 diabetes and obesity. Particularly, the interplay of early exposures with genetic and epigenetic factors on early growth patterns and their role in type 1 diabetes development will be explored to increase our understanding of disease development and inform future prevention strategies.

Beside the interest on child health development, a second focus is to identify predictors and better understand mechanisms underlying long-term health outcomes in mothers after a diagnosis of gestational diabetes.



We are investigating the contribution of early diet and physical activity on the development of childhood obesity, islet autoimmunity and type 1 diabetes in longitudinal birth cohort studies and intervention trials.

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM)

Gestational diabetes is associated with short- and long-term complications in mothers and their offspring. Our aim is to identify predictors and mechanisms of long-term metabolic health in mother-offspring pairs after a pregnancy complicated by gestational diabetes.


One focus of our research is on molecular mechanisms that may underlie the long-term programming of type 1 diabetes and obesity in children. Studying the impact of pre- and postnatal exposures on epigenetic modifications can help to elucidate these mechanisms.



Sandra Hummel 2

Prof. Dr. oec. troph. Sandra Hummel

Lead Scientist Research Area: Lifestyle, Obesity, and Epigenetic Programming in Type 1 and Gestational Diabetes

Heidemannstraße 1, 80939 München