Texas Tech University

Nutritional Sciences

Obesity and Metabolic Health Lab

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Lab Members

Nikhil Dhurandhar, Ph.D., FTOS

Nikhil Dhurandhar, Ph.D., FTOS

Professor and Helen Devitt Jones Endowed Chair
Chairperson: Department of Nutritional Sciences
Department of Nutritional Sciences
Texas Tech University
Email: Nikhil.Dhurandhar@ttu.edu

Bio
CV

 

Vijay Hegde, Ph.D.

Vijay Hegde, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Department of Nutritional Sciences
Texas Tech University
Email: vijay.hegde@ttu.edu

Bio

 

Swetha Peddibhotla, M.S., Ph.D.

Swetha Peddibhotla, M.S., Ph.D.

Post-doctoral Research Associate, Lab Manager
Email: Swetha.peddibhotla@ttu.edu
CV

Swetha Peddibhotla is a postdoctoral research associate and lab manager in Obesity and Metabolic Health Laboratory mentored by Dr. Dhurandhar. She received her B.Sc in Biology from Andhra University, India and her M.Sc is from University of Hyderabad, India. Her M.Sc research was focused on studying "Effect of telomere length mutants on silencing of loci targeted to the nuclear periphery". After graduation, she worked in Center for DNA fingerprinting and Diagnostics, Hyderabad for a year as Research assistant in Structural Biology lab working on "Structural and functional studies on Mycobacterium tuberculosis heat shock proteins". She received her doctoral degree from University of Muenster, Germany where her research focused on identifying a ternary protein complex and investigating signaling pathways involved in angiogenesis. Currently, she is working on developing E4orf1 as therapeutic target and characterizing the molecular mechanisms of its function.

 

Presheet Patkar, Ph.D.

Presheet Patkar, Ph.D.

Post-doctoral Research Associate
Email: presheet.patkar@ttu.edu
CV

Presheet received his doctorate in Biochemistry in 2016 from Texas Tech University with focus on enzymology and rational drug design. He has been working in the Obesity and Metabolic Health lab at TTU since July 2017 for Profs Dhurandhar, Shin and Hegde on different projects, most notably establishing the technical know-how of performing glucose-insulin clamps in rodents. In addition to understanding the Diabetes and Obesity drug landscape at a molecular level, he has experience in drug design and testing potential drugs against neglected tropical diseases (Chagas, African Sleeping Sickness). He is an avid biker, sports enthusiast, barbeque aficionado and loves to play audience to knowledge relating to behavioral economics, humor, and new perspectives

 

Md Akheruzzaman, M.S.

Md Akheruzzaman, M.S.

Ph.D. Candidate and Research Assistant
Email: md.akheruzzaman@ttu.edu
CV

Md Akheruzzaman joined Obesity and Metabolic Health Laboratory in Fall-2016 as a Graduate Student (Doctoral). Prior to joining here, he worked as a Research Officer in the Initiative for Non-Communicable Diseases in the International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He earned his M.S. and B.S. degree from Institute of Nutrition and Food Sciences at the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. In Master's thesis, he explored the association between women empowerment and food insecurity in Bangladeshi households. He decided to perform his doctoral research in basic science and wish to incorporate his knowledge of public health nutrition to improve non-communicable disease conditions. Akheruzzaman is currently characterizing the property of an anti-diabetic protein E4orf1 in mice. He published and writing several manuscripts while working in the OMHL lab as a research assistant. He presented his research findings in the Annual meeting of the Obesity Society (2018) and the American Society for Nutrition (2019). He became a doctoral candidate in Fall-2018 and intend to graduate in Fall-2019.

 

Samudani Dhanasekara, M.S., M.B.B.S.

Samudani Dhanasekara, M.S., M.B.B.S.

Ph.D. Candidate
Email: Samudani.dhanasekara@ttu.edu
CV

Samudani Dhanasekara joined Obesity and Metabolic Health Laboratory in Fall-2016. Samudani received her MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery) in the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. She had 3-years of practice experience as a physician before she joined Texas Tech University. Samudani came to TTU and joined Nutrition & Nanomedicine Lab in 2016 Spring to work with Dr. Shu Wang. Her Master's Thesis was about the imaging intimal macrophages in atherosclerotic lesions using CD36-targeted nanoparticles. After finished her Master Degree, Samudani started working in clinical nutrition field with Dr. Nikhil Dhurandhar for her Ph.D. degree.

 

Yaqiong Zhu, M.S.

Yaqiong Zhu, M.S.

Ph.D. Candidate
Email: yaqiong.zhu@ttu.edu
CV

Yaqiong Zhu joined the Obesity and Metabolic Health Laboratory in Fall-2016 as a Ph.D. student. She had her master's degree in Public Health at the University of Florida and B.S. degree in Pharmacy at Nanjing Medical University, China. After graduation, she finally found out her passion for clinical nutrition, so she started a nine-month internship in a nutrition lab at UF to prepare the application in Nutritional programs.

As a Research Assistant in Nutritional Science Department at Tech, she works in clinical nutrition area under the supervision of Dr. Dawson and Dr. Dhurandhar, and her dissertation is about the effect of egg breakfast on satiety. In addition, she was a social media liaison of GNO during 2017-2018. She will graduate in August 2019 and go back to China to start her career development.

 

Zahra Feizy, M.S.

Zahra Feizy, M.S.

Graduate Student (Ph.D.)
Email: z.feizy@ttu.edu
CV

Zahra Feizy is a Ph.D. student in the Nutritional Sciences department at Texas Tech University. She joined the Obesity and Metabolic Health Laboratory in fall 2016 as a research assistant. She got her Master's degree after 2 years and immediately started her doctoral degree under the supervision of Dr. Dhurandhar. Zahra earned her B.S. degree in nutritional sciences from Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences (SBMU) in IRAN. During the undergraduate studies, her main focus was on clinical nutrition, though she decided to perform her graduate research in basic science. Her Master's and current research project focuses on designing a delivery system for the anti-diabetic agent, E4orf1. She presented her findings in the annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition (2018) and got selected as the first place winner in the Energy and Macronutrient Metabolism topical area of the Emerging Leaders in Nutrition Science Poster Competition.

 

Abu Bakkar Siddik, M.S.

Abu Bakkar Siddik, M.S.

Graduate Student (Ph.D.)
Email: bakkar.siddik.siddik@ttu.edu
CV

Md Abu Bakkar Siddik is a first year Ph.D. Student in the Department Nutritional Sciences. He came to TTU during fall 2016 and completed his Masters in Nutritional Sciences. During his Masters the worked on a Methionine Aminopeptidase 2 (MetAP2) inhibitor which acts as an anti-angiogenic compound (BL6). Findings from this study support a possible role for MetAP2 inhibitor, as a putative anti-obesity therapeutic agent. Currently, he is working on Alzheimer's disease (AD), and its relationship with branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) metabolism, and how various metabolic pathways are linked with AD and BCAAs. He also presented his research findings at a couple of international conferences including Obesity Week (2018) and American Society for Nutrition (2019). Prior to coming to Texas Tech University, he received a B.S in Nutrition and Food Science at University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. There he worked on an undergraduate project for the determination of mineral content of some selected Bangladeshi food.

 

Harsh Shah, M.S.

Harsh Shah, M.S.

Graduate Student (Ph.D.)
Email: Harsh.Shah@ttu.edu
CV

Harsh Shah is the first year Ph.D. student in Obesity and Metabolic health lab. He joined the lab in fall, 2018 and started his research work under the guidance of Dr. Vijay Hegde. Harsh obtained his Bachelor's and Master's Degree in Biochemistry. As part of his master thesis, he worked to understand the causal link between benign prostate hyperplasia and prostate cancer. After graduating, he worked as an assistant professor in The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, India for three years before joining this lab. His broad research interest is to understand pathogenesis of metabolic syndrome and related disorders. Currently, he is working on the following projects.
1. To understand effect of Adenoviral 36 protein E4orf1 on insulin signaling pathway.
2. To elucidate effect of E4orf1 mediated glycemic control in Alzheimer's disease.

 

Rownok Afruza, M.S.

Rownok Afruza, M.S.

Graduate Student (Ph.D.)
Email: Rownock.Afruza@ttu.edu
CV

Rownock started her Ph.D. in Fall 2017 and received the prestigious presidential fellowship from Texas Tech University (TTU). As a member of Obesity and Metabolic Health Laboratory, she is now working on non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases (NAFLD) and the disease-specific gene expressions. She is interested to find out the differences between human and mice gene expression in terms of NAFLD to make a link between mice and human research. Prior to joining this lab, Rownock has worked as a research officer in Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (BCSIR), which is a renowned government research institution in Bangladesh. Her working area was bio-analytical chemistry and she was involved in the development and improvement of liquid chromatography methods for different biological samples. She has completed her M.S. and B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Dhaka.

 

Chelsi Webster, B.S.

Chelsi Webster, B.S.

Graduate Student (Ph.D.)
Email: Chelsi.Webster@ttu.edu
CV

Chelsi Webster joined the Obesity and Metabolic Health Laboratory (OMHL) in Spring 2019 as a doctoral student. Previously, she worked in the Nutrigenomics, Inflammation, and Obesity Research (NIOR) Lab under Dr. Naima Moustaid-Moussa with a focus on basic science. Chelsi investigated the role of fish oil omega-3 fatty acids in a mouse model of obesity. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Dietetics from the University of Wisconsin-Stout and decided to pursue doctoral research in clinical nutrition to enhance her skills in the areas of patient care and medical nutrition therapy. She is currently studying whether gut hormone levels and subjective ratings of hunger, satiety, and energy intake can predict weight-loss response to the anti-obesity drug liraglutide. She is the editor of the Nutritional Sciences Department newsletter and also oversees the NS Departments social media webpages. Chelsi has presented at the American Society for Nutrition's annual 2019 conference and intends to graduate Summer 2021.

 

Md Shahjalal Hossain Khan, M.S.

Md Shahjalal Hossain Khan, M.S.

Graduate Student (Ph.D.)
Email: md-shahjalal.khan@ttu.edu
CV

Shahjalal Khan is a Nutritional science Ph.D. Student in the OMHL lab. He received his M.S. and B.Sc from Institute of Nutrition and Food Science (INFS), University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. His M.S. research work was focused on "The nutrient content of selected vegetables consumed by tribal people of Bangladesh". He joined the Texas Tech Nutritional Science at Fall 2015 and worked in nanotechnology and nanomedicine area focused on the drug for prevention and treatment of obesity. Currently, he is mentored by Dr. Vijay Hegde in a project that pursues to find out the link between diabetes and Alzheimer's disease in different Alzheimer mice model as well as in-vitro setting.

 

Former Lab Members

 

Zahra Mostofinejad

Zahra Mostofinejad

Graduated in 2018 (M.S.)
MS Dissertation Title: Continued Improvement of Glycemic Control after Five Month Treatment with E4orf1 Protein in Older Mice

 

Anuradha Shastri

Anuradha Shastri, Ph.D.

Current position: Postdoctoral Fellow at Thomas Jefferson University
Postdoctoral Research Associate (2016-2017)

 


Moumita Roy, Ph.D.

Post-doctoral Research Associate (2016-2017)

 

Suhadinie Gamage

Suhadinie Gamage

Graduate Student (Ph.D.) at Wayne State University.
MS Dissertation Title: Improvement in Glycemic Control in Mice of Different Age Groups

Nutritional Sciences