The Blumberg laboratory is broadly interested in the study of gene regulation and intercellular signaling during embryonic development and physiology. Current research focuses on the role of nuclear hormone receptors in development, physiology and disease. Particular interests include patterning of the vertebrate nervous system, the differential effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) on laboratory model organisms compared with humans, interactions between xenobiotic metabolism, inflammation, and cancer, and the role of environmental endocrine disrupting chemicals on the development of obesity and diabetes.
Dr. Blumberg and his colleagues originated the obesogen hypothesis which holds that developmental exposure to EDCs can induce permanent physiological changes. EDC exposure elicits epigenetic alterations in gene expression that reprograms the fate of mesenchymal stem cells, predisposing them to become fat cells. Exposed animals develop more and larger fat cells, despite normal diet and exercise which is likely to lead to weight gain and obesity over time.