Healthy Body Weight Research Unit
(Kate (Claycombe) Larson - Research Leader)
Dietary Prevention of Obesity-Related Disease Research Unit
(Matthew Picklo, PhD, Research Leader)
Research addresses the effectiveness of dietary and physical activity practices based upon the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans in preventing unhealthy weight gain and minimizing risk factors for obesity-related chronic disease. The project includes studies to increase the motivating value of physical activity, fruits and vegetables such that adherence to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines might be improved. The project also studies the effect of pattern of daily protein intake and drinking sugared beverages at meals on energy expenditure, fat oxidation, and the motivation to eat snack foods. Contemporary behavioral change models and state-of the-art instrumentation are applied to the conduct of both controlled feeding and community-based studies.
Shanon Casperson, PhD - Research Biologist
James Roemmich, PhD - Supervisory Research Physiologist
Research addresses the underlying physiological functions affected by diet and physical activity in the maintenance of healthy body weight. This includes the trans-generational programming of energy metabolism. The tools of genomics and metabolomics are utilized to elucidate the factors affecting individuals' responses to dietary and physical activity interventions, including the propensity of some individuals to gain weight. It involves studies with animal models as well as human volunteers.
Kate (Claycombe) Larson - Research Nutritionist and Lead Scientist
Vacant - Research Molecular Biologist
Research addresses the appropriate levels and composition of dietary fats needed to maintain health and prevent diseases including cardiovascular disease and bone loss. Studies include determining the effects of different fats and genetics on energy metabolism in people, determining the role of omega-3 fatty acids in maintaining bone health, determining the effects of obesity on omega-3 metabolism, and determining the benefit of eating high omega-3 fish on cardiovascular disease markers in at-risk people. This work utilizes a unique combination of clinical and mechanistic studies coupled with state-of-the art instrumentation for assessment of energy metabolism, lipidomics, and genomics.
Jay Cao- Research Nutritionist
Matthew Picklo- Research Physiologist
Research addresses the linkage between obesity and cancer with the goal of elucidating the roles of diet, dietary selenium and physical activity in preventing obesity-related cancer. Specifically, studies focus on preventing lung and breast cancer metastases and determining the role of the gut microbiome in preventing colon cancer. Scientists use a combination of state-of-art analyses in combination with well-defined models of tumor development and spread.
Lin Yan- Research Nutritionist and Lead Scientist
Huawei Zeng- Research Molecular Biologist
USDA ARS Collaboration
Forrest Nielsen- Cooperating Scientist