Dr. Edward Melanson Ph.D., is a Professor of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism, and diabetes, with a secondary appointment in the Division of Geriatrics. He is also an Assistant Director of the Energy Balance Core Lab. In this capacity, he oversees the operation of the whole-room calorimeter, located on the Clinical and Translational Research Center (CTRC). Dr. Melanson’s interests are on the effects of diet, exercise, and obesity on substrate metabolism and energy expenditure. The primary areas of research in Dr. Melanson’s lab are:
Developing new methods for assessing energy expenditure and physical activity in free-living humans
These studies are focused on advancing analytical approaches of accelerometer data to measure physical activity. Dr. Melanson’s laboratory also has the capacity to measure free-living energy expenditure using the doubly labeled water method and is advancing new approaches to measuring isotope enrichments in biological samples using laser absorption spectroscopy.
Studying the effects of menopause impacts bioenergetics and metabolism
The menopausal transition is associated with an increase and redistribution of body fat from lower body to upper body depots. Dr. Melanson is involved in research to understand the mechanisms by which this occurs. In studies performed in collaboration with Wendy Kohrt, Ph.D., Professor of Geriatric Medicine, we have shown that suppression of ovarian function reduces energy expenditure and physical activity and that these changes are attenuated with the replacement of estrogen. Dr. Melanson’s lab is currently studying how estrogen status impact brown fat activity. These studies involve novel approaches to measure brown fat activity using two radioactive tracers combined with dynamic PET/CT scanning.
Understanding how lifestyle interventions, particularly adoption of regular exercise and alterations in sleep, impact physical activity, sedentary behavior, and health outcomes
In collaboration with Kenneth Wright, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Integrative Physiology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, Dr. Melanson has performed several studies to determine the impact of sleep restriction on energy expenditure and substrate metabolism. Current studies in our lab are focusing on understanding the impact of different intensities and timing of exercise on glycemic control, non-exercise physical activity, and sleep in older adults. 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. This NIH Common Fund initiative will develop a national resource of molecular responses to physical activity that will advance the understanding of the mechanisms by which physical activity improves health.