Martha Belury, PhD, RD

Carol S. Kennedy Professor
Department of Human Sciences

Martha Belury is the Carol S. Kennedy professor of human nutrition in the Department of Human Sciences. Her research interests are investigating the mechanisms of bioactive lipids in regulating insulin sensitivity in liver, adipose and muscle; and the role of energy balance in cancer prevention.

Her lab is chiefly interested in selective metabolic modulators in the diet.  The compounds that they study include polyunsaturated fatty acids and their metabolites as well as isoflavones and metabolites.  As signaling molecules and components of phospholipids, these molecules exert potent effects on mitochondrial and insulin-dependent energy metabolism.

Goals include:

  1. Determine the impact of fatty acid moieties and isoflavones on whole body energy metabolism as regulated by interactions between adipose, liver and muscle tissues
  2. Identify mechanisms of energy metabolism involving insulin-dependent and insulin–independent pathways in each of these tissues
  3. Evaluate how bioactive compounds modulate adipose-derived cytokines, e.g., adipokines, to regulate metabolism and inflammation
  4. Compare and contrast how energy deprivation induces atrophy of muscle and adipose using some mechanisms that overlap with “over-feeding”.  Pathways include altered metabolism, inflammation, proteolysis and cell death-associated signals
  5. Identifying the steps of atrophy related to insulin-resistance, proteolysis and cell death

Models include:

  1. murine models
  2. cell culture models
  3. Randomized controlled trials
  4. observational clinical studies

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