Curriculum Vitae Biosketch

  • Department Chair, Nutrition & Integrative Physiology
  • Adjunct Professor, Biochemistry Research
  • Professor, Nutrition & Integrative Physiology



  • BS, Biochemistry, Indiana University
  • Ph.D., Physiology, Southern Illinois University
  • Postdoctoral, Medicine, University of Pennsylvania

Honors & Awards

  • Meeting Organizer, Keystone Symposia on Lipid Biology and Lipotoxicity in Killarney, Ireland, 2011; Invited Speaker at over 100 conferences and Seminars. 01/2011
  • CSU Nominee, Searle Scholars Award, 2000; CSU Nominee, Pew Trust Fellowship, 2000; Career Development Award, American Diabetes Association, 2000; Basil O’Connor Starter Scholar Award, March of Dimes, 2001; One of 4 scientists whose work was featured in a chapter highlighting the “Next Generation of Sphingolipid Stars,” Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics, 2003”; Keynote Lecturer, Metabolic Diseases Drug Discovery Summit, San Diego, CA, 2007. 01/2007
  • Doctoral Fellowship, Southern Illinois University Graduate School, 1991; Phi Kappa Phi Honorary Academic Society, Southern Illinois University, 1992; Doctoral Fellowship, Southern Illinois University Graduate School, 1992; Poster Competition, First Place, Sigma Xi Combined Research Symposium, 1994; Dissertation Research Award, Southern Illinois University Graduate School, 1994; Predoctoral Grant-in-Aid of Research, Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society, 1994; Dissertation Research Award, Southern Illinois University Graduate School, 1994; Predoctoral Student Stipend, American Heart Association, Illinois Affiliate, 1994; Individual National Research Service Award, NIDDK, National Institutes of Health, 1997; Poster Competition, First Place, University of Pennsylvania Signaling Retreat, 1998;. 01/1998


My entire professional career has been devoted to the study of diabetes, with my interest having been born shortly after my father’s diagnosis with the disease.  My laboratory has become particularly interested in the relationship between dyslipidemia and metabolic disease and much of our current work derives from the observation that sphingolipids (e.g. ceramide) contribute to insulin resistance and beta cell failure, which are important features of the disease. Our current research efforts seek to identify the (a) site of sphingolipid function, (b) their mechanism of action, and (c) the regulatory events controlling sphingolipid accumulation.  Moreover, (d) we seek to develop drugs targeting enzymes in the ceramide-synthesizing pathway, which hold enormous potential in a broad spectrum of metabolic disorders.


  • University of Utah (UofU), Professor and Chair, Department of Nutrition & Integrated Physiology, 08/2016 - present
  • American Heart Association (AHA), Member, 01/2016 - present
  • Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute (BIHDI), Head, Translational Metabolic Health Laboratory, 01/2015 - 01/2016
  • Australian Cardiovascular Alliance (ACvA), Member, 01/2015 - present
  • Duke University (DU), Associate Professor, Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases, 01/2008 - 01/2015
  • University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT (UofU), Associate Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, 01/2004 - 01/2008
  • American Diabetes Association (ADA), Member, 01/2000 - present
  • Colorado State University (CSU), Associate Professor, Department of Biochemis, 01/1999 - 01/2004
  • University of Pennsylvania (UP), Post-Doctoral Research Associate, 01/1995 - 01/1999

In the Media


  • English, fluent.

Geographical Regions of Interest

  • South-Eastern Asia. USA, Southeast Asia, Pacific Rim.

Contribution to Science

The major accomplishment of my scientific career has been to advance the idea that sphingolipids such as ceramides regulate nutrient homeostasis and contribute to insulin resistance and metabolic disease. The opinion was initially controversial and few publications other than my own appeared on the topic. Nonetheless, the data were robust and the therapeutic potential of the pathway obvious. Through research reports, review articles and invited seminars, our work has influenced the directions of new and established researchers and the number of publications containing the words ceramide and insulin has risen exponentially.