What is Research?
Some people think that research is only about “experimenting” on animals and people, but it is actually about finding better ways to do things and improve the care that people receive.
Only by doing research can scientists and doctors identify new diseases, learn more about particular conditions and help to find treatments and cures.
Of course, not all research leads immediately to a headline grabbing cure. Rather like a jigsaw, many different research studies are often needed before we are able to fit the pieces together and see the whole picture.
What does Research involve?
Researchers are interested in many different things as the human body is very complicated. Some researchers may look at how the brain controls particular things that we do, others may measure things like hormones to work out how these chemicals work in the body.
Before a research project can begin, the person leading the research has to think very carefully about the aims of the project and how to achieve them. Once they have decided this, an independent group of people known as the “Research Ethics Committee” will check that the work is worthwhile, well organised and above all, safe for anyone who may take part.
What is our Research about ?
Our research involves looking for changes in a gene that may be the cause of a person’s severe weight problem (Learn about genes).
It begins with a referral from a hospital doctor to the Genetics of Obesity Study (GOOS) because they think there may be a genetic cause for the weight problem in a family. From a sample of blood or saliva, our team in the laboratory are able to look for specific genes. If we find a change in a gene that we think may be important, we like to invite families to Cambridge for further tests to try and understand as much as possible about the gene and what it does (What happens when I come to Cambridge ?).
If you don’t hear from us, don’t worry we haven’t stopped looking, it just takes rather a long time!