Nutrition T32 Training Faculty

‚ÄčThe 23 participating faculty mentors for the Institutional Training Program in Nutrition represent a balanced mix of physician scientists and basic researchers and a balance of mid-career and senior investigators. The faculty conduct research over a wide spectrum, ranging from cell and molecular science, clinical and behavioral research, epidemiology and community outreach. The areas of primary research interest and approaches represent 3 broad themes: 1) Obesity and Metabolic Dysfunction; 2) Nutrition and Eating Behavior; 3) Development and Life-course.

The following faculty bios provide synopses of participating faculty members' themes and research:

Nancy Krebs, MD, MS, Professor of Pediatrics, Section of Nutrition, CU Anschutz SOM [Nutrition & Eating Behaviors, Development & Life Course] 

Dr. Krebs’ primary broad interest is in maternal and infant nutrition, with specific expertise in micronutrient homeostasis and metabolism, factors affecting nutrient bioavailability, and the effects of different physiologic states and contexts. Current research includes an RCT in 4 low & middle income countries that tested the effects of a preconception maternal nutrition intervention on birth length (primary outcome) and postnatal growth and development through 2 yr of age; on public health outcomes (e.g. low birth weight and prematurity), maternal metabolic phenotype and nutritional status; maternal and infant microbiome; and epigenetic changes. A new multidisciplinary initiative connects unique molecular signatures in foods to the same food-specific compounds in biological fluids (as potential biomarkers of dietary exposures), and links these to health indicators in individuals consuming the foods. Current investigations in normal infants in the U.S. examine the programming effects of maternal obesity and insulin resistance on postnatal growth, human milk composition and microbiome. Other studies examine the effects of different feeding regimens on infant growth, nutritional status, body composition, innate immune development and the microbiome.

Linda (Lynn) Barbour, MD, MSPH, Professor of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes, and Obstetrics & Gynecology (Maternal-Fetal Medicine), CU Anschutz SOM [Obesity & Metabolic Disease, Development & Life Course]

Dr. Barbour’s research focuses on maternal metabolism and the offspring consequences, including maternal complications from obesity, insulin resistance and gestational diabetes (GDM) as well as thyroid disease in pregnancy. Her current studies investigate the potential fetal programming of childhood obesity through an R01 on the regulation of maternal fuel supply and neonatal adiposity. More recently she has added investigations of the metabolic consequences in GDM mothers and their infants from the currently prescribed maternal lower carbohydrate/higher fat diet vs a higher carbohydrate/lower fat diet (CHOICE) on maternal insulin resistance, diurnal glucose and lipid profiles, adipose tissue and placental function, and the development of infant subcutaneous and intrahepatic fat and the microbiome. She is the Director of the Obstetric Diabetes Clinic and Co-Director of the High-Risk Obstetric Clinic at the University Hospital Anschutz Medical Campus and Co-Director for the Colorado Program in Nutrition and Healthy Development. She is the current Chair of the American Diabetes Association Scientific Planning Committee for Pregnancy and Reproductive Health.

Bryan Bergman, PhD, Professor of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes, CU Anschutz SOM [Obesity & Metabolic Disease]

Dr. Bergman’s research investigates the relationship between muscle lipids and insulin sensitivity, and he has been continuously funded by the NIH since 2005. His laboratory focuses on the relationship between skeletal muscle subcellular lipid localization and insulin resistance in humans. Specifically, his lab is investigating how the intracellular location, molecular species, and isomers of diacylglycerol and sphingolipids promote insulin resistance in humans. A current study is investigating these changes after insulin sensitizing lifestyle interventions. A second research emphasis addresses how intermuscular adipose tissue impacts skeletal muscle insulin sensitivity, muscle strength, and size in humans. This is examined by intermuscular, subcutaneous, and visceral adipose tissue biopsies. Dr. Bergman’s laboratory also pursues mechanistic relationships between inter- and intra-muscular lipids and insulin sensitivity using primary muscle cell culture, a unique model as the phenotype of donor is maintained in culture. They are using this model to determine mechanisms underlying the relationship between localized muscle lipids and insulin sensitivity, and how the secretome of intermuscular adipose tissue promotes insulin resistance. The overall goal of Dr. Bergman’s research is to uncover novel therapeutic targets to increase muscle insulin sensitivity to help prevent and treat pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes.

Daniel Bessesen MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, CU Anschutz SOM [Obesity & Metabolic Disease; IAB member]

Dr. Bessesen has conducted studies relating to the clinical problem of obesity for >25 yr. His work has involved studies of dietary fat metabolism conducted in animal models of obesity as well as human subjects. He has conducted studies on obesity treatment in primary care funded by the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute as well as examinations of anti-obesity pharmacotherapy using large datasets from multiple integrated health systems across the country. Most recently he has been interested in the adaptive responses to weight loss that promote weight regain. Studies are underway using a range of methods including metabolic turnover studies, whole room indirect calorimetry, measures of energy expenditure with doubly labeled water, measures of appetite and spontaneous food intake, and measures of physical activity. A particular focus of his lab’s recent work is the effects of energy imbalance (overfeeding or exercise) on sleeping metabolism. This work has grown out of the observation that individuals that vary in their propensity for weight gain (reduced obese, constitutively thin individuals, obese individuals, normal weight individuals with at least one first degree relative with obesity) have significant differences in nocturnal fat oxidation following exercise or overfeeding. This work will examine the role of sleeping metabolism and hormone fluctuations in body weight regulation.

Richard E. Boles, PhD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Section of Nutrition, CU Anschutz SOM [Obesity & Metabolic Disease, Nutrition & Eating Behavior]

Dr. Boles is a pediatric clinical psychologist with NIH funded research examining environmental influences on health behaviors in young children and their families. Based on cognitive-behavioral, social learning, and ecological-based theories, Dr. Boles conducts basic and patient-oriented research to understand how modifiable environmental factors, including the arrangement of the physical environment and parental feeding behaviors, impact child and parent behaviors related to healthy growth and development. Current studies focus on the pre-and postoperative characteristics and bioethical factors in consideration for bariatric surgery in adolescents who are neurotypical or with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Dr. Boles has extensive experience in mentoring, particularly for junior faculty submitting career development awards. He has a record of funding and has submitted grants under review. Until he has firmly obtained independent funding, he will likely serve as a co-mentor, in particular with Drs. Inge and Haemer, with whom he has active collaborations.

Kristen E. Boyle, PhD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Section of Nutrition, CU Anschutz SOM [Obesity & Metabolic Disease, Development and Life-course]

Dr. Boyle, a former trainee on this grant, investigates the fetal programming of obesity, using a novel human umbilical cord-derived stem cell model. Using these cells, Dr. Boyle conducts research focused on identifying how obesity in pregnancy may affect skeletal muscle development and adiposity in the offspring. She is exploring how the epigenetic profile of the stem cells, acquired in utero, may alter their ability to differentiate into either fat or muscle cells and once differentiated, whether the epigenetic profile contributes to differences in cellular metabolism. With her background in obesity research, coupled with >10 yr of experience measuring metabolism in primary stem cell cultures, she will be investigating the early origins of disordered metabolism that may contribute to the development of obesity in infants born to mothers exposed to various metabolic and environmental perturbations during pregnancy, including exposure to chemical “obesogens” such as polybrominated diphenyl ethers and polyfluoroalkyl substances. She has mentored 7 trainees (4 pre- and 3 postdoctoral) and has co-authored 5 publications with these trainees.

Laura D. Brown, MD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Section of Neonatology, CU Anschutz SOM [Nutrition & Eating Behavior, Development & Life-course]

Dr. Brown’s research goal is to understand the basic biology of fetal muscle development and protein metabolism in order to optimize nutritional practices and growth in the IUGR fetus and neonate. She performs fetal physiological studies using large animal models, including the use of stable isotopes and metabolomics to assess muscle-specific protein metabolism. She blends her basic science/translational research interests in fetal growth and metabolism with clinical nutritional management of the preterm and IUGR neonate. She has 60 publications that span the areas of fetal physiology, fetal growth, skeletal muscle biology, and neonatal nutrition for the preterm and IUGR infant; she is currently R01 funded. Her expertise in amino acid metabolism and metabolomics has led to collaboration with Dr. Tang on her infant studies; Dr. Brown is a mentor on Dr. Tang’s K award (see below). She is a senior faculty member for the CU Center for Women's Health Research (CWHR), serves on several committees related to the promotion of women's health research, including the planning committees for the National Conference on Women’s Health and Sex Differences Research and the Women’s Community Health Symposium, the Women in Medicine and Science committee, and review panels for BIRCWH scholar awards and CWHR Pilot grants.

Joanne B. Cole, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Colorado Center for Personalized Medicine and Department of Biomedical Informatics, CU Anschutz SOM [Nutrition & Eating Behaviors, Obesity & Metabolic Disease] 

The Cole lab ( is a computational lab at the intersection of large-scale genomics, nutrition, and metabolic disease. We use genetics as a tool to 1) develop methods that improve phenotyping, 2) identify the genetic determinants of complex traits, including dietary preferences and intake, and how they interplay with the environment, 3) use Mendelian randomization to identify which aspects of dietary intake are causally linked to disease, 4) elucidate how genetic versus environmental risk factors impact intervention and treatment responses, and 5) in future work we hope to study how genes involved in sensory pathways impact food choice and nutritional intake through a combination of computational and clinical approaches.

Dana Dabelea, MD, PhD, Conrad M. Riley Endowed Professor of Epidemiology and Pediatrics, Director, Lifecourse Epidemiology of Adiposity and Diabetes (LEAD) Center, CU Anschutz, Colorado School of Public Health [Obesity & Metabolic Disease, Nutrition & Eating Behavior, Development & Life-course; IAB member]

Dr. Dabelea’s primary research interest is the understanding of the complex and multifactorial etiology of pediatric diabetes, both type 1 and type 2, with a goal of reducing, delaying and preventing its occurrence and burden. Specific interests include early life risk factors, such as exposure to maternal diabetes during intrauterine life, other exposures during fetal or early post-natal life, and infant growth and feeding patterns, and their influence on the development of childhood obesity, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and diabetes. Dr. Dabelea is PI for multiple NIH studies, including investigations of differences in markers of subclinical cardiovascular disease in youth with T1D and non-diabetic controls; the long-term consequences of fetal exposures on childhood obesity phenotypes; factors in pregnancy and early life influences on a child’s growth and risk for obesity and future diseases; and an intervention for prevention of T2D in American Indian youth. As the Director of the LEAD Center and lead investigator on >$18 million NIH and CDC grants, she oversees large, longitudinal, cohort studies spanning the entire life-course, from pregnancy through old age.

Glenn T. Furuta, MD, Professor of Pediatrics, Section of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, CU Anschutz SOM [Nutrition & Eating Behavior] 

Dr. Furuta is a physician scientist and Director of the Gastrointestinal Eosinophilic Diseases Program (GEDP) at Children’s Hospital Colorado. The GEDP mission is to improve the lives of children with eosinophilic gastrointestinal diseases (EGID) thru multi-disciplinary care (including nutrition), novel research, education and advocacy. The goal of the research is to identify novel therapeutic targets and eliminate barriers to care for patients with EGIDs. Basic and translational projects use in vitro and in vivo models to dissect pathogenetic pathways. Clinical research focuses on identifying novel biomarkers, impact of dietary changes, developing metrics for disease activity and determining clinical phenotypes. Research is funded through several NIH and industry sources focusing on EGID. Research opportunities available to trainees include basic, translational and clinical studies. Dr. Furuta has served as Chair of the Pediatric Gastroenterology Fellows’ Scientific Oversight Committee, and has an exceptionally strong record of research mentoring, including on this T32.

Matthew Haemer, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Section of Nutrition, CU Anschutz SOM [Obesity & Metabolic Disease, Nutrition & Eating Behavior] 

Dr. Haemer is a former trainee on this T32 and is a pediatrician with clinical specialization in Nutrition and Pediatric Weight Management whose research examines factors determining the effectiveness of screening, counseling, and treatment for childhood obesity delivered in primary care and community settings. His current studies examine the effect of computerized decision support and motivational interviewing training on medical providers’ self-efficacy, processes of care, and impacts of counseling on BMI for clinical populations. His work studying treatment interventions is focused on low-income Latino families with young children, using a family-inclusive treatment model. He holds a K23 award (DK) that applies implementation science. Dr. Haemer has held leadership positions in national organizations’ efforts to address childhood obesity (e.g. American Academy of Pediatrics, Ambulatory Pediatrics Association, CDC) and has established multiple research collaborations through these activities.

Teri Hernandez, PhD, Associate Dean for Research and Scholarship in the College of Nursing and Associate Professor of Medicine and Nursing, CU Anschutz [Obesity & Metabolic Disease, Nutrition & Eating Behavior, Development & Life Course]

Over 20 yr at CU, Dr. Hernandez has developed a program of research exemplified by the execution of carefully controlled clinical studies focused on nutrition, metabolic health, and early life exposures. She and her research team (Infant GOLD, Investigations in the Gestational Origins of Lifelong Development) have a research program focused on in-utero programming influences and through this platform, she is committed to training high-caliber clinical investigators. Dr. Hernandez is an educator in the graduate school at CU, serves as Director for the CCTSI Early Life Exposures Research program, and is a Pediatric Nurse Scientist at Children’s Hospital Colorado. She has been a member of the Colorado Multiple Institutional Review board for 6 yr. Dr. Hernandez also holds leadership positions nationally in the American Heart Association and the National Pediatric Nurse Scientist Collaborative, and she is a member of the Perinatal Research Society.

Susan L. Johnson, PhD, Professor of Pediatrics, Section of Nutrition, CU Anschutz SOM and Community and Behavioral Health, CSPH [Obesity & Metabolic Disease, Nutrition & Eating Behavior, Development and Life-Course]

Dr. Johnson is Director of the Children’s Eating Laboratory (CEL), which is dedicated to studying the development of children’s eating behaviors and their relation to children’s growth and health. The group is funded to investigate the influence of the family environment on preschool-aged children’s energy intake regulation, nutrient intakes, food preferences and growth patterns. The CEL develops interventions to promote healthy eating and activity behaviors and to enhance parents’ self-efficacy to promote their children’s adoption of healthy eating behaviors. Recent funding and programmatic development address early food preference patterns during the complementary feeding period, especially those related to difficult-to-like foods (e.g., bitter green vegetables), with a goal of contributing to the federal “B-24 Project”. Research areas available to trainees include observational and survey development techniques and methodology; measurement of psychosocial parameters related to weight and growth; physical activity and food intake methodology; video-coding strategies to investigate parent-child interaction in the feeding and physical activity domains; and qualitative research designs and analyses. Dr. Johnson is Associate Director for the CCTSI LITeS program (Leadership and Innovation in Team Science), from which all members of the EC have graduated.

Wendy Kohrt, PhD, Professor of Medicine, Division of Geriatric Medicine and Center on Aging, CU Anschutz SOM [Obesity & Metabolic Disease, Development & Life-Course, IAB member]

Dr. Kohrt is the Director of the IMAGE (Investigations of Metabolism, Aging, Gender, and Exercise) research group which aspires to be a national leader in human aging research focused on the prevention of disease and the maintenance of functional independence in old age. Many of the research efforts of the IMAGE group involve intervention trials to determine the extent to which modifiable life-style factors (e.g., exercise, diet) influence metabolism, disease risk, and physical functional abilities. Two broad areas of focus are currently funded: 1) novel factors that influence musculoskeletal adaptations to exercise, with an emphasis on discovering how the disruption of calcium homeostasis during exercise influences bone metabolism; and 2) metabolic and bioenergetic consequences of the loss of gonadal function with aging. Dr. Kohrt is Director of the Colorado Specialized Center of Research Excellence (SCORE) on Sex Differences (U54 AG062319), and PI for a Clinical Center in the NIH Common Fund Molecular Transducers of Physical Activity Consortium (MoTrPAC); she is also Chair of the Steering Committee for MoTrPAC.

Paul MacLean, PhD, Professor of Medicine and Pathology, Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes, CU Anschutz SOM [Obesity & Metabolic Disease, Development & Life-Course]

Dr. MacLean’s research program is focused on obesity and its metabolic complications. He has a particular interest in understanding the biological adaptations to weight loss that drive weight regain and how obesity affects women’s health across the lifespan. Dr. MacLean serves as the Director of the Colorado Nutrition Obesity Research Center (NORC, P30 DK48520). The Colorado NORC has a large research base of faculty members and over 50 affiliate (trainees and other faculty) members, who have strong interests relevant to this T32 training program. The center supports a pilot/feasibility program for fellows and junior faculty, enrichment activities, and 4 biomedical research cores. He is the Director of the CCTSI Pre-K Program and the Associate Director of the CCTSI KL2 training program, which provide excellent assistance for postdoctoral fellows as they build their independent research programs. Dr. MacLean currently has a number of funded studies on overnutrition, the related metabolic complications, and effective strategies to prevent and treat obesity and its associated pathologies.

Edward Melanson PhD, Professor of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes, & Div of Geriatric Medicine, CU Anschutz SOM [Obesity & Metabolic Disease, Development & Life-Course]

Dr. Melanson is the Assistant Director of the Energy Balance Core Lab of the Colorado Nutrition and Obesity Research Center (NORC). In this capacity, he oversees the operation of the whole-room calorimeter, and is the director of the newly established Doubly Labeled Water Core Laboratory. The primary areas of research in Dr. Melanson’s lab are 1) understanding how lifestyle interventions, particularly adoption of regular exercise and alterations in sleep, impact physical activity, sedentary behavior, and health outcomes; 2) developing new methods for assessing energy expenditure and physical activity in free-living humans; and 3) studying the effects of endogenous sex steroids on bioenergetics and metabolism. Dr. Melanson is also a co-investigator on the Colorado Clinical Center for the study of Molecular Transducers of Physical Activity Consortium (MoTrPAC) – Colorado Clinical Center, which will develop a national resource of the molecular responses to physical activity to advance the understanding of the mechanisms by which physical activity improves health.

Noel T. Mueller, PhD, MPH, FAHA, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Section of Nutrition, CU Anschutz SOM [Microbiome, Obesity & Metabolic Disease, Development and Lifecourse Epidemiology]

Dr. Mueller’s research program lies at the nexus of nutrition, microbiome, and environmental health science, and ultimately aims to generate data to inform the development and testing of interventions to improve health throughout the lifespan. Over the last decade, his research has largely focused on using epidemiologic studies to identify impacts on the intestinal microbiota, and on translating these findings into clinical trials in which we can rigorously test interventions to restore and/or modify our intestinal microbiota to improve our health. Recently, he has also begun to investigate how in utero exposure to environmental factors, including ambient air pollution and heavy metals, affect cardiometabolic health outcomes of mothers and children. The overarching objective of his research is to decrease the high burden of cardiometabolic diseases by developing the scientific basis for population-based clinical, behavioral, and pharmacologic interventions. To this end, he has over 100 publications, a book chapter, and invited editorials in JAMA, Cell Host & Microbe, and American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. His work is funded by the NIH, in addition to state and foundation grants. He has been recognized for his research through the receipt of several national research awards, including the “The Sandra A. Daugherty Award for Excellence in Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology” and through invited seminars, both nationally and internationally, including invited seminars at the New York Academy of Sciences, the Pediatric Academic Society, the Infectious Diseases Society of America, and the International Diabetes Federation. His research has also reached the general public and gains attention from multiple podcasts and the media, including the New York Times, BBC, CBS News, and NPR. Dr. Mueller is also a Fellow of the American Heart Association, where he is on the Leadership Committee and Obesity Committee.  Dr. Mueller also thoroughly enjoys teaching and mentoring the next generation of public health scientists, and he was recently recognized for his efforts with the prestigious “Advising, Mentoring, & Teaching Recognition Award” from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Theresa Powell, MD, Professor of Pediatrics, Section of Neonatology, CU Anschutz SOM [Obesity & Metabolic Disease, Development & Life-Course]

Dr. Powell’s research in the field of nutrient and ion transport in human placenta has led to the novel theory that the placenta is the site of coordination between maternal nutrient supply and fetal growth. She has described perturbations in human placental ion and nutrient transport capacity in association with, or in compensation for, alterations in fetal growth. It has been long known that the placenta is responsible for modifying maternal physiology and Dr. Powell’s research indicates that the placenta “senses” maternal nutrients available and responds to maternal growth signals, allowing this transient organ to coordinates its growth and metabolic and transport functions accordingly. Dr. Powell has studied placental functional changes in response to nutrition responsive hormones, including insulin, leptin, cortisol, growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor. These maternal factors act as signaling molecules relating maternal supply information at the level of the placenta. Dr. Powell is currently NIH-funded to examine placental regulation in response to in obesity and changes in maternal adiponectin, placental nutrient transport and fetal growth, and other studies of placental function in relation to fetal growth. She has mentored approximately 20 postdoctoral and physician-scientist fellows and serves as the Co-Director for the Perinatal T32 training program.

Paul Rozance, MD, Professor of Pediatrics, Section of Neonatology, CU Anschutz SOM [Nutrition & Eating Behavior, Development & Life-Course]

Dr. Rozance’s research goal is to develop a better understanding of how the fetus translates nutrient and hormonal signals from the placental into anabolic signals for growth. His focus is intrauterine growth restriction and the pancreatic beta cell. Additionally, he recently began an NIH funded project determining the role of placental lactogen on uterine and umbilical blood flow, placental nutrient transport, and fetal pancreas and liver development. These basic physiological studies revolve around the broad area of perinatal insulin-nutrient metabolism and have led to his newer clinical research program in the area of neonatal hypoglycemia. He has held several leadership positions in professional societies and is also Program Director of the University of Colorado’s NICHD T32 Training Program in Perinatal Medicine and Biology. He will be a mentor for one of the incoming Nutrition T32 trainees, Stephanie Gilley, MD, PhD, on a project determining the impact of intrauterine growth restriction on offspring microbiome and its relationship to short- and long-term metabolic outcomes.

Darleen Sandoval, PhD, Professor of Pediatrics, Section of Nutrition, CU Anschutz SOM [Obesity& Metabolic Disease]

Dr. Sandoval's research surrounds two general themes both focused on the role of the gut-brain axis in regulation of energy homeostasis. The first focuses on the role of a gastrointestinal peptide, GLP-1, in physiological regulation of feeding and pharmacological regulation of body weight, and in the pathophysiology of obesity. The second research them focuses on the adaptations of the gut-brain axis with bariatric surgery and how this contributes to the profound weight-loss with these surgeries. Both research themes leverage the state-of-the art neuroscience techniques in combination with sophisticated mouse genetic, surgical, feeding, and metabolic phenotyping capabilities with the goal of defining the critical gut-brain axis connections that mediate the success of bariatric surgery. The successful impact of bariatric surgery on weight loss highlights the importance of the intestine on regulation of energy homeostasis and we use this as a tool to not only understand mechanisms for the success of surgery but also to understand the overall gut-brain-axis circuits critical for body weight regulation.

Kartik Shankar, PhD, Professor of Pediatrics, Section of Nutrition, CU Anschutz SOM [Obesity & Metabolic Disease, Nutrition & Eating Behavior, Development & Life-Course]

Research in Dr. Shankar’s group is primarily focused on understanding the nature and mechanisms of how gestational events influence the susceptibility to obesity later in life. A major focus of his work has revolved around understanding the long-term influences of maternal obesity on the offspring. His research program which has been continoulsy funded since 2005, has employed experimental models specifically designed to address the influence of gestational obesity and leveraged longitudinal human cohorts to address translational questions using large-scale genomic methods. Teaching and mentoring have been cornerstones of Dr. Shankar’s academic career. He has mentored 14 postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty (Instructor to Assistant Professor) over the last 10 yr. Since moving to CU, he has assumed mentorship of several postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty members. He serves as a mentor to Dr. Stephanie Gilley (along with Dr. Paul Rozance) on examining links between IUGR, infant microbiome development and metabolism. He also serves on the Scholarship Oversight Committee for Dr. Saint-Cry. He is Associate Director MCA Core for the NORC and Assistant Director for Basic Research for the LEAD Center.

Minghua Tang, PhD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Section of Nutrition, CU Anschutz SOM [Obesity & Metabolic Disease, Nutrition & Eating Behavior, Development and Life-Course]

Dr. Tang investigates early-in-life risk factors that affect infant growth and development in human clinical studies. Her recent research focus is the effects of early dietary exposure, especially protein, on infant growth, body composition and gut microbiota development. Dr. Tang and her colleagues discovered that sources of protein during complementary feeding distinctively affect infant growth trajectories and modify the risk of being overweight. These findings and the associated changes in the microbiota will be applied to a germ-free mouse model. New initiatives will investigate the impact of bioactive components in foods on infants’ early immune development, inflammatory profile and microbiota. She currently is mentoring 3 pre-doctoral candidates.

Darcy A. Thompson, MD, MPH, Professor of Pediatrics, Section of Nutrition, CU Anschutz SOM [Obesity & Metabolic Disease, Nutrition & Eating Behavior, Development & Life-Course]

Dr. Thompson is a clinician-investigator focused on the prevention and treatment of early childhood obesity in low-income Latino families, including those with limited English proficiency. She completed a K23 award focused on-screen media use in preschool-aged Latino children and is now conducting an R01 funded project utilizing a mixed-methods approach to understand predictors and obesity-related outcomes of toddler screen use in low-income Mexican American families. She is experienced in survey methods, qualitative methods, and measurement development. She utilizes community-based participatory research methods in her work, integrating community stakeholders into both the development of research proposals and their implementation. She has mentored numerous individuals and has been involved in national mentoring programs (New Century Scholars, Ambulatory Pediatrics Association) aimed at diversifying the academic pediatric workforce.

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