Lipedema is a painful and debilitating condition affecting approximately 10 percent of adult women. It is characterized by excessive and painful fat in gynoid areas (buttocks, hips, legs) and a relatively small waist circumference.
[Photo: Dr. Yann Klimentidis]
Dr. Yann Klimentidis, assistant professor and genetic epidemiologist at the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, has been awarded a $115,000 grant from the Lipedema Foundation to study the genetic risk factors for developing the disease.
As a genetic epidemiologist, his research focus is primarily on cardiometabolic traits and diseases. Dr. Klimentidis uses genetic and epigenetic information to understand disease pathophysiology to minimize health disparities, individually tailor treatment and prevention approaches, and improve prediction of disease risk.
By capitalizing on existing studies, Dr. Klimentidis seeks to identify genetic risk factors for lipedema and follow-up on specific loci by examining gene expression levels in affected and unaffected fat tissue.
“We suspect that there are multiple common genetic variants located across the genome that predispose individuals to developing lipedema,” said Dr. Klimentidis. By identifying the genes that cause lipedema, we can identify physiological mechanisms that may be therapeutically acted upon, and potentially make predictions of an individual’s risk for lipedema. A better understanding of the pathways and mechanisms underlying lipedema can lead to improved prevention and treatment.”