Andres J. Acosta, M.D., Ph.D., focuses his research on gastrointestinal physiology to understand the complexity of food intake regulation and obesity. Obesity is a primary cause of type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Dr. Acosta's laboratory utilizes a combination of genetics, physiology, pharmacology, proteomics, metabolomics, and gastrointestinal and brain imaging to understand food intake regulation and to modulate them for the treatment of obesity. In collaboration with his mentor, Michael Camilleri, M.D., Dr. Acosta is using cutting-edge techniques to understand the pharmacotherapy and pharmacogenomics of obesity.
Dr. Acosta's main focus is on the mechanisms and regulation of appetite, satiation and satiety, including the role of gastric function, gastrointestinal hormones, taste preferences, bile acids, and enterohepatic regulation and gut energy utilization. Additionally, Dr. Acosta studies the effect of genetics, pharmacology and endoscopic devices on food intake regulation.
- Food intake regulation. Dr. Acosta seeks to understand the regulation of satiation and the complex interaction among the gut, liver and brain.
- Individualized obesity therapy. Dr. Acosta's recent work focuses on understanding gastrointestinal traits associated with obesity, weight gain and weight loss. These traits are used to predict obesity therapy outcomes with the intention of individualizing treatment. Dr. Acosta applies individual differences in quantitative studies of gastrointestinal functions, behavioral and psychological traits in overweight and obesity to propose individualizing or personalizing therapy directed at specific traits.
- Obesity pharmacotherapy. Dr. Acosta's laboratory focuses on identifying novel therapeutic targets utilizing cutting-edge techniques in the areas of molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics, neuroimaging and pharmacology.
- Genetics and obesity therapy. The study of genetic polymorphisms associated with gastrointestinal traits and obesity therapy, known as pharmacogenetics and novel pharmacotherapeutics, are a major focus of Dr. Acosta's lab.
Significance to patient care
Dr. Acosta's goal is to treat and ultimately cure obesity, which he considers this century's health epidemic. Dr. Acosta's work on individualized obesity therapy aims to identify the right therapy for the right patient, minimizing side effects.
Eventually, Dr. Acosta hopes to understand the mechanisms behind food intake regulation and weight to develop novel techniques and therapies. In the meantime, Dr. Acosta shares his knowledge and research experience with patients with obesity in Mayo Clinic's weight loss clinic.
- AGA/AGA-GRG travel award for Digestive Diseases Week, American Gastroenterology Association (AGA), 2015
- Young Investigator Forum award, American Neurogastroenterology and Motility Society, 2014
- Chairman, Leighton E. Cluff award, University of Florida Department of Medicine Residency Program, 2012
- Excellence in teaching award, University of Florida Department of Medicine, 2012
- Medical Guild award, University of Florida College of Medicine, 2009