Sylvia Santosa, Professor, Ph.D., R.D.

Health, Kinesiology, and Applied Physiology
Concordia University

Let's Talk About Sex - Differences in Regional Adipose Tissue in Obesity and Diabetes

Sex differences play a significant role in how adipose tissue functions in obesity and diabetes. Men and women tend to store fat differently, with men often accumulating more fat in the upper body, subcutaneously and around their organs, while women typically store more fat in the lower body. These sex differences are not only significant in where we store fat but also, in the function of these regional fat depots. These differences in fat distribution and function can impact metabolic health and the development of obesity-related conditions like diabetes. Traditionally, upper body fat has been shown to be more metabolically active and better linked to the development of obesity-related comorbidities, such as diabetes. On the other hand, fat stored subcutaneously in the lower body has been considered to be protective effect against metabolic disorders. However, research from our lab and others show differences in various adipose tissue depots that are salient to the development of metabolic disease. Understanding these sex differences in adipose tissue can help develop more targeted and effective treatments for obesity and diabetes. By tailoring interventions to account for these differences, healthcare providers can better address the unique needs of male and female patients with these conditions.

Speaker/Chair Bio:

Sylvia Santosa, Ph.D., R.D. is a researcher and expert in the field of nutrition, obesity, and metabolic health. She is currently a full professor in the Department of Health, Kinesiology, and Applied Physiology at Concordia University and holds a Tier II Canada Research Chair in Clinical Nutrition. Dr. Santosa has dedicated her career to studying the intricate relationship between adipose tissue, obesity, and metabolic disorders. Dr. Santosa has published numerous peer-reviewed articles in prestigious scientific journals, contributing valuable insights to the field. Her work has not only advanced our understanding of how adipose tissue functions differently in men and women but is also paving the way for more targeted and personalized treatment approaches for obesity-related conditions. Dr. Santosa’s work is funded through grants from agencies including NSERC, HSF, CFDR, and CIHR.