Nutrition and Metabolism Unit

Learn more about nutrition and your kidney

Leader: T. Alp Ikizler, MD

Members: Naji Abumrad, Kelly Birdwell, Charles Ellis, Raymond Hakim, Adriana Hung, Matt Luther, Edward Siew

The Nutrition and Metabolism Unit will be directed by Dr. Alp Ikizler, who will be assisted by Dr. Matt Luther. Dr. Ikizler’s primary research interest is to delineate the mechanisms through which wasting syndrome develops and examine nutritional and metabolic interventions that can counteract these catabolic signals by stimulating protein anabolism. His group utilizes chronic kidney disease, especially the advanced stages of the disease as a model to accomplish this overarching goal. In performing these studies, Dr. Ikizler’s group applies several methodologies, including but not limited to glucose, insulin and amino acid clamp studies, stable isotope techniques and various dialytic techniques. His studies are supported by VICTR and VUMC Diabetes Research and Training Center, VUMC Environmental Health and Toxicology center and VUMC Digestive Diseases Research Center.

The resources and services provided by this Unit place specific emphasis on the quantitative and precise measurements of factors that comprise protein and energy balance homeostasis. The objectives of the unit are to: 1) Provide services and resources to investigators conducting research in energy balance and nutrition assessment; 2) Provide innovative approaches to measure physical activity, its associated energy expenditure and its efficiency; 3) Provide assistance with methods to assess glucose tolerance, insulin sensitivity, and insulin secretion; 4) Provide assistance with substrate kinetic studies using stable isotopes; 5) Train and educate core investigators, fellows and students in methodologies and techniques used to assess energy expenditure, clamp studies and stable isotope techniques; and 6) Foster interaction among investigators to encourage collaborative research and the sharing of resources.