Timothy R Nagy PhD

Dr. Nagy is a Professor of Nutrition Sciences, Director of the Division of Physiology and Metabolism, and Director of the PhD Program in Nutrition Sciences. He directs the Small Animal Phenotyping Laboratory that is a resource for both the UAB Clinical Nutrition Research Center and the UAB Center for Metabolic Bone Disease. Dr. Nagy’s research is focused on three areas: (1) the regulation of body weight, (2) the development and validation of methods for phenotyping small animals, and (3) the link among body fat, caloric restriction and cancer.

Dr. Nagy's studies on the regulation of body weight have utilized both humans and animal models. Currently his studies are focused on animal models to better understand the mechanisms regulating energy expenditure and thus body weight. These studies include antipsychotic drug-induced weight gain, the role of uncoupling proteins, and the role of dairy in weight loss and bone health.

During Dr. Nagy's studies on the regulation of energy expenditure using animal models, he realized the need to improve the measurement of body composition in small animals, especially in vivo methods. Thus, he worked with two medical imaging companies to adapt human peripheral dual-energy X-ray absorptiometers (DXA) for use with mice. Dr. Nagy was the first to validate and publish on the use of DXA for measurements of fat, lean, and bone in mice. He has extended his interest in imaging techniques to that of peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT). His studies have demonstrated that pQCT can be used to determine relative body fat and the relative fat content of organs in mice and rats. Recently, Dr. Nagy acquired a micro-computed tomography instrument and is currently validating its use for both hard and soft tissue. These non-invasive techniques are extremely useful and important tools for bone and obesity researchers using animal models in their research. The final area of research interest is the link among body fat, caloric restriction, and cancer. Dr. Nagy has developed a mouse model in which energy intake can be held constant while body fat is modified by varying energy expenditure using ambient temperature. Thus multiple groups of mice, whose body fat are vastly different but food intake is the same, can be studied. This line of research will determine the independent effects of body fat on cancer.