Kristen E. Boyle, PhD

Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Section of Nutrition

Kristen Boyle, PhD​12700 East 19th Ave, Mail Stop C-225
Research Complex II, Room 5111
Aurora, CO 80045

Work Phone: 303-724-5969






University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA
B.S. in Exercise Science and Nutrition, cum laude
Ohio University, Athens, OH
M.S. in Exercise Physiology
East Carolina University, Greenville, NC
Ph.D. in Bioenergetics
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO
Postdoctoral Fellowship


Research Interests:

My research focuses on clinical interventions combined with mechanistic investigations by using primary human cell culture models. Most recently, we have developed a model for investigating human intrauterine phenotype development using umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). In the context of obesity in pregnancy, these infant stem cells demonstrate greater adiposity and metabolic dysfunction consistent with the adult obesity phenotype. It is our goal to further our understanding of how maternal obesity or diabetes impact the infants born to these mothers by evaluating the epigenetic and metabolic outcomes in the infant MSCs. Moreover, longitudinal assessments of the children from which the MSCs were derived will clarify the potential role of umbilical cord MSC phenotype for predicting obesity or diabetes risk in the children.

Current Projects Include:

Research in cellular metabolism, physiology, and molecular biology:
  • Mechanisms for maternal obesity influence on offspring metabolic disease risk using a human umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cell model
  • Role of oxidative stress in metabolic dysfunction.
  • How epigenetic signatures alter cellular metabolism and insulin sensitivity in human mesenchymal stem cells.


1-18-ICTS-016   PI: Boyle 01/01/2018 – 12/31/2020
The American Diabetes Association

Umbilical cord-derived stem cell metabolism: Understanding mechanisms for childhood obesity risk.
The goal of this project is to identify neonatal predictors of child metabolic health outcomes by comprehensively interrogating umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cell response to metabolic stress for energy sensing, energy utilization, and energy storage pathways.

Role: Principal Investigator

1UG3OD023248-01 PI: Dabelea 10/16/2016 – 09/31/2022

Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes
The Early Life Exposome and Childhood Health – The Colorado Healthy Start 3 Cohort Study.
The goal of this project is to estimate the early life “exposome”, across a wide range of exposures (social, metabolic, chemical, physical), and conduct integrative analyses of early life exposure related to child health outcomes that are informed by molecular biomarkers (‘omics) and pathways.

Role: Investigator

P30GM118430-RedmanPF-01 PI: Redman 10/27/2016 – 07/31/2018
IMAGINE COBRE Pilot With: The Pennington Biomedical Research Center

Investigation of the mechanisms for transmission of impaired glucose metabolism in infants exposed to diabetes in utero.
This pilot study will test the hypothesis that in utero exposure to characteristics of the diabetic pregnancy, such as altered maternal substrate oxidation and placental lipotoxicity, programs a metabolically inflexible phenotype in the offspring as measured by substrate oxidation in the infants and cellular metabolism in umbilical cord derived mesenchymal stem cells.

Role: Co-Investigator (subaward)

K01 DK106347 PI: Boyle 07/14/2015 – 04/30/2018

Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells and the Epigenetic Programming of Obesity
This is a mentored career development award aimed at investigating the effects of obesity during pregnancy on fetal mesenchymal stem cell biology and related epigenetic signatures.

Role: Principal Investigator