My primary goals in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition are to contribute to the maintenance of exemplary graduate programs through staff and student engagement, upholding standards of responsible research conduct, and supporting and educating graduate students. I am passionate about mentoring and professional development to help students build strengths, overcome weaknesses, and explore career opportunities across disciplines.
I am studying the role of estrogen metabolism and aging in chronic disease. My foundational work focuses on mechanisms of regional redistribution of adipose tissue with age and menopause. Specifically, changes in the stem cell population lead to a reduction in lower body subcutaneous fat and accumulation of central visceral adiposity associated with metabolic disease. My main focus is the adipogenic potential of stem cells and metabolic plasticity in the context of adipose tissue aging, and the role of estrogen in the observed sex differences in local obesity.
Recently, I have begun to study the interregulation of the gut microbiota and estrogen metabolism, and its impact on chronic menopause-related diseases, including heart disease, osteoporosis, and cancer. I use human, animal, and primary cell models to investigate underlying mechanisms and identify interventions that have the potential to mitigate aging and menopause-related disorders. I actively collaborate with faculty in the CSU Department of Food Science and the Department of Human Nutrition, Health, and Exercise Science, as well as colleagues at the CU Anschutz School of Medicine.
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