The word fat evokes a certain reaction in our culture. For associate professor of neurobiology Kristy Townsend and her students it’s the subject of research on many levels. Fat communicates with the brain, it battles disease, it plays a role in the aging process. It also comes in a variety of colors with differing functions. Townsend talks about her work on this connection and how it relates to obesity and diabetes — diseases that are becoming pandemics. She also talks about the role of basic research and the growing biotech industry in Maine.