Melanson Lab

My research is focused on studying biological mechanisms that influence energy balance and thus the propensity towards weight gain and obesity. My research career at AMC started in 1998 as a post-doc in the Center for Human Nutrition.  During the early part of my career, I performed several studies using the whole-room calorimeter to determine the effects of exercise, diet, and obesity on substrate oxidation. In 2004, The University of Colorado Medical School Campus began a phased move from its original location on Colorado Boulevard in Denver to the former Fitzsimmon’s Army Medical Base in neighboring Aurora, now known as the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. As part of this move, a new room calorimeter was constructed in the Clinical and Translational Research Center located in the University of Colorado Hospital. As one of the primary users of the room calorimeter, I was asked to oversee the construction of the new room calorimeter. Although a challenging endeavor, this was a tremendous learning experience, which has created many new and exciting opportunities for my lab, and I continue to this day as director of the Room Calorimeter Core.   

As the research of my group expanded, there became an increasing need to perform doubly labeled water (DLW) assessments of free-living energy expenditure. The traditional approach of performing the isotopic measurements for the DLW method is isotope ratio mass spectrometry. In 2012, I was approached about advancing an alternative, laser based approach (Off-axis integrated cavity spectroscopy, or ICOS) to perform isotopic measurements with the DLW method. Through a series of studies, we have shown that this approach is a feasible, valid, and less costly approach to performing these measurements. In 2019, my lab received an award from the Dean of the School of Medicine to establish a DLW core laboratory. This award permitted us to purchase a second ICOS instrument and greatly expand our capacity.

Aside from these activities, I maintain my own line of research. One of my primary areas of interest is understanding the regulation and physiological importance of brown fat in humans. Over the past 10-15 years, it has become evident that some humans have substantial amounts of brown fat, but how the metabolic activity of this tissue is regulated and its association with health outcomes is not fully understood. I am currently the PI of an R01 that is exploring the impact of ovarian hormones on brown fat activity. These studies built on previous collaborative research with Dr. Wendy Kohrt  where we demonstrated that suppressing ovarian function reduces energy expenditure, and that this can be attenuated by replacing estradiol.  My current brown fat stuies are being performed collaboratively with investigators from the University of Ottawa and Sherbrooke University in Canada, and are utilizing novel radioactive tracers combined with PET/CT to measure oxidative metabolism in brown fat.

dr melanson with husband and dog

In addition to my research activities, I serve on several committees, including serving as a co-chair of the Scientific Advisory Review Committee (SARC), as well as Director of Enrichment Programs for the Colorado Nutrition and Obesity Research Center (NORC).  In this latter role, I facilitate the development of educational and training opportunities for the next generation of researchers in obesity and nutrition. 


When not in the lab, I enjoy spending time with my husband Jon and our two dogs, Blaze and Kelsi.

Lab Personnel

Melanson Lab Personnel


Seth A. Creasy, PhD

I am an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism, and Diabetes. My research broadly focuses on improving lifestyle interventions that help to prevent and treat chronic diseases such as obesity. I completed my graduate training at the University of Pittsburgh and then completed my postdoctoral fellowship here at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus under the mentorship of Edward Melanson, PhD. My training with Dr. Melanson is focused on the theory and practice of doubly labeled water for measuring free-living energy expenditure in humans. In addition, I am receiving training in physical activity measurement and novel analyses of continuous physical activity accelerometer data. I currently hold an NIH Career Development Award (K01) to investigate how the timing and consistency of lifestyle behaviors (energy intake, physical activity, and sleep) influence weight loss and weight loss maintenance.   

When I am not working, I spend my time enjoying the outdoors with my wife, Hana. We enjoy running, hiking, fly-fishing, and appreciating all of the other outdoor activities Colorado has to offer.   


Shelby Panter

I joined the lab in February 2019 as a Professional Research Assistant. I received my B.S. and M.S. degrees in Exercise Physiology and Chronic Disease from the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, FL. 

I work on multiple different studies for Drs. Catenacci, Creasy, and Melanson. 

I love working for this team, and I am gaining a tremendous amount of knowledge about clinical research in the fields of physical activity, energy expenditure, and metabolism. 

My goal is to improve the lives of people daily through our team’s research. Eventually, I hope to help create and implement disease-specific clinical exercise programs to treat and prevent chronic diseases.   

In my free time, I enjoy hiking, making pottery and training for my 2020 bike ride across the United States!

Melanson Lab Staff