Current Research

  • Duke Student Health Study

In this study we assess the efficacy of new methods for measuring energy intake (food consumption) and expenditure (calories burned). One challenge in metabolic research is the difficulty in gathering accurate and reliable data on daily food intake and daily energy expenditure for large samples of people during normal daily life.

  • Hadza Energetics, Ecology, and Health

With collaborators Brian Wood and David Raichlen, we are engaged in long term field work with the Hadza commuity, a hunting and gathering population in northern Tanzania. Our work focuses on the relationships between diet, physical activity, energy expenditure, and health over the life course.

  • Daasanach Health and Life History Project

We aim to investigate the effects of lifestyle change on early childhood growth among the Daasanach, a population of semi-nomadic pastoralists living in remote northern Kenya. We further seek to understand the tradeoffs between growth and other competing energy demands (i.e. physical activity and immune function) in a population transitioning towards a more sedentary and market integrated way of life.

  • Lemur Reproductive Energetics Study

We are investigating differences in energy expenditure and physical activity over the course of pregnancy and lactation in Ruffed and Ring-tailed lemurs, primate species that differ in maternal behavior and life history traits.

  • Lemur Health & Energetics Study

We aim to assess how changes in physical activity affect metabolic phenotype, and whether the response to changes in activity correspond to genetic relatedness.

  • Metabolic Response to Flu Vaccine

In this study we want to determine the metabolic cost of influenza vaccination in adults. We also seek to understand which aspects of the immune response correspond most closely with metabolic cost in the response to the flu vaccine.

  • Cost of Speech and Chewing

The main objective of this study is to measure the energetic cost, in calories, of speech and chewing behaviors in adult humans. A second aim of this study is to test the popular notion of “negative calorie” foods, or foods that require more calories for processing and digestion than they provide nutritionally.

  • Squirrel Project

We aim to assess how urbanization affects energy expenditure, health and infection with zoonotic diseases in two populations (urban vs forest) of eastern grey squirrels.