Scopus ID: 8537073100
The study of human metabolism lies at the core of my research interests and activity. During the course of my career, I have been involved in research projects examining the effects of diet and exercise on various aspects of human health and disease. I have received funding from various bodies (USA: American Heart Association, Washington University in St Louis, NIH/NIDDK; Singapore: A*STAR, NMRC; Industry: Nestle, Arla) to evaluate the effects of exercise, diet, obesity and weight gain/weight loss, sex differences, and fatty liver on energy and substrate metabolism, lipid and lipoprotein kinetics, and insulin sensitivity in skeletal muscle, liver, and adipose tissue. I like to think of myself as a “metabolist.”
I intend to keep generating novel scientific knowledge on the effects of diet and exercise on human health, by conducting innovative transdisciplinary research at the interface between biochemistry, metabolism, and physiology. I believe that diet and exercise provide two of the most potent intervention models to alter physiological and metabolic function, challenge systems and organs, and thereby help understand the mechanisms by which the body works and responds to external stimuli in order to maintain its normal function (i.e. health), as well as the mechanisms that fail and lead to abnormal body function (i.e. disease). My vision is to bring together and fuse different research expertise, and create a melting pot of different types of research – from clinical to basic research and anything in-between – to gain a deeper and better understanding of the mechanisms by which the human body works.
I make use of a variety of methodologies to assess human physiological function and metabolism in vivo, including the oral and intravenous glucose tolerance tests in conjunction with mathematical modeling to evaluate glucose tolerance, insulin sensitivity and pancreatic beta cell function (i.e. insulin secretion); the hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp technique in conjunction with stable isotope tracer infusions to evaluate whole-body and organ-specific (skeletal muscle, adipose tissue, liver) insulin action and substrate kinetics; dual X ray absorptiometry (DXA), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) to evaluate body composition, fat distribution and ectopic fat deposition; tissue biopsies to evaluate relevant cellular factors and molecular mechanisms; indirect calorimetry (canopy/mask/chamber modes) to evaluate basal metabolic rate and diet- and exercise-induced thermogenesis; and others. I am not fixated on methods and tools per se, but rather on the physiological questions of interest. I utilize whichever method and tool can help answer the question I am asking. In recent years, my research has focused on understanding the effects of weight loss (Cell Metab 2016; AJCN 2016; Obesity 2018), but also overfeeding and weight gain (Obesity 2014; JCI 2015), on insulin sensitivity and delineate the underlying mechanisms for these effects in people with obesity, but also in people with normal body weight (AJP Endo Metab 2018; JAP 2018; Obesity 2018).
Possible conflicts of interest