Since 1994 my research has focused on the relationships between diet, body composition and energy metabolism in nonhuman primates. I have developed and standardized techniques required to fully elucidate metabolic function in nonhuman primates such as detailed assessments of food intake, body composition, glucoregulatory function, energy expenditure, and physical activity. I have put these techniques to use studying the effects of caloric restriction on aging and the metabolic effects of PCOS in rhesus macaques. More recently I have been integral in aging nonhuman primate studies evaluating the relationships between cognitive function, motor function and brain structure evaluated by MRI. I have adapted these techniques to evaluate cognitive development in juvenile to adolescent macaques through my involvement in the NICHD funded grant entitled “Hypothermia to prevent neurotoxic side effects of pediatric drugs”. While the bulk of my work has been in the rhesus monkey, I have successfully translated these techniques to smaller animals such as rodents and common marmosets. Over the past several years I have begun to develop the common marmoset model of obesity and metabolic syndrome. A pilot grant funded by the University of Wisconsin, Madison Institute for Clinical and Translational Research developing an adolescent marmoset model for pediatric obesity has led to a recently funded NICHD R01 entitled “Dietary fat ratio’s influence on adolescent depression”. This exciting new grant will explore the role of dietary fatty acids in brain development from childhood through adulthood utilizing the marmoset model.
- Joined ERP Program: 2017