UMass Lowell scales back Fall 2020 plan to minimize students, employees on campus. View the plan for more info.
My research program has focused on the nature of pathological changes that occur in long-term renal failure, with a goal of better understanding how to care for patients on dialysis. Four million Americans have impaired renal function, and 300,000 Americans require permanent dialysis treatment to replace lost renal function. We have studied oxidant stress (breath ethane, isoprostanes, and inflammatory markers) and the influence of dietary antioxidant supplementation (vitamin E and selenium). We are studying vitamin C levels in patients on dialysis, since many patients have very low plasma vitamin C, and are seeking to determine if these patients would benefit from interventions to raise their plasma vitamin C levels. We are also studying the biology of anemia in these patients, and are seeking better ways of administering iron to avoid chronic anemia in dialysis. Because 40 percent of all renal failure is linked to obesity and diabetes, and another 30 percent to hypertension, I have worked with other faculty at Lowell and elsewhere to better understand the prevention of diabetes and hypertension through diet and exercise. This is a major developing focus of my research, since these diseases are highly preventable through life style modifications. Current research questions include better diets that do not elevate blood glucose levels (low-glycemic diets), since these diets may lead to less obesity. The carotenoids found in the egg yolk (lutein and zeaxanthin) are also found at the center of the retina, and these carotenoids may prevent age-related diseases in the retina. My laboratory is investigating strategies, involving egg consumption and other interventions, to raise the level of the carotenoids in the retina.