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Phone: (404) 752-1737
Fax: (404) 752-1179
B.Sc., General (Hon) University of the West Indies (UWI), Jamaica
M.Sc., UWI, Jamaica (Human Nutrition)
Ph.D., UWI, Jamaica (Human Nutrition & Metabolism)
My primary research interest is in altered metabolism and nutritional requirements resulting from disease. Clinical and animal studies are performed to determine how protein/energy metabolism and immune response are altered in diseases, such as protein-energy malnutrition, obesity and sickle cell anemia. Methods include stable isotope tracers, RNA and protein assays.
The most recent research focus is to investigate nutritional implications of altered metabolism in sickle cell anemia (HbSS), a disease that is characterized by chronic hemolytic anemia and, hence, increased protein catabolism and re-synthesis directed toward red cell replacement. This causes a persistent drain on protein/energy substrates and likely nutrient shortage, particularly, of amino acids for vital growth and development. These observations suggest an increased dietary requirement to satisfy increased metabolic needs in HbSS, which has not been systematically investigated. The chronic hemolysis also induces inflammation, even among steady-state HbSS patients, presumably through sub-clinical injury of blood vessel membranes and transient vasoocclusive events. It is our hypothesis that increasing protein and energy recommended intakes for children with HbSS could help to decrease protein catabolism, promote normal growth and development and correct other metabolic abnormalities, such as chronic baseline inflammation. We are currently testing this hypothesis in the Berkeley transgenic sickle cell mouse model, with humanized sickle cell disease and translating the findings into clinical supplementation studies.
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