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Edward Melanson, Ph.D.

FACSM, Professor of Medicine

Dr.  Melanson is a Professor in the School of Medicine at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.  His research is focused on studying the effects of lifestyle factors (physical activity, diet, and sleep) on bioenergetics (energy and substrate metabolism, and physical activity), particularly related to obesity and aging.  Dr.  Melanson has made substantial contributions in several areas of related research.  He has used whole-room calorimetry to determine how exercise intensity, aging, and obesity affect substrate oxidation at the whole-body level.  He has also measured skeletal muscle oxidative capacity to determine its association with substrate oxidation measured at the whole-body level.  In these studies, he has demonstrated how 24 h fat oxidation is primarily determined by overall energy balance, rather than exercise type or intensity, and that this is also observed in overweight and older adults.  With his long-time collaborator Dr.  Kenneth Wright, an expert in sleep physiology from the University of Colorado Boulder, Dr.  Melanson has also performed studies to determine the effects of sleep restriction and alterations in normal sleep-wake cycles (e.g., simulated night shift work) on energy expenditure, substrate oxidation, and energy intake.  These studies have shown that alterations in normal sleep patterns disrupt both energy expenditure and energy intake, leading to positive energy and fat balance, thereby increasing the risk of weight gain.  Collectively, these studies have enhanced our understanding of how different lifestyle factors impact bioenergetic responses and the maintainance of energy and substrate balance.  Currently, members of Dr. Melanson’s lab are conducting studies to understand how certain lifestyle factors (sleep, physical activity, and timing of meals) interact to affect metabolism.  Dr. Melanson has also performed collaborative research with Dr. Wendy Kohrt, the Nancy Anschutz Chair in Women’s Health Research at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, to understand how the menopausal transition, and in particular estrogen status, impacts energy expenditure and physical activity.  These studies have shown that suppression of estrogen in women leads to reductions in energy expenditure and physical activity, and that some of these effects can be reversed by estrogen add back therapy.  This collaborative effort spawned a new area of research for Dr. Melanson, and in 2017 he received an NIH R01 award to study the effects of estrogen on brown fat activity.  In these studies, he is using dynamic PET/CT imaging to determine how estrogen status impacts brown fat activity.  It is expected that these studies will contribute to our understanding of how the menopause transition impacts energy metabolism and increases the risk for fat gain.  

Dr. Melanson has maintained an interest in developing and validating objective methods for measuring physical activity and energy expenditure in free-living humans, and this remains an area of focus for his group.  These studies include novel instrumentation, such as measures of heat flux as a means of measuring energy expenditure, and validation of a laser-based instrument to measure isotopic enrichments in urine samples, specifically when applied to the doubly labeled water method for measuring free-living total daily energy expenditure.  Dr. Melanson’s lab has recently shown that this approach produces measurements of total daily energy expenditure with accuracy and precision similar to isotope ratio mass spectrometry.  Currently, Dr. Melanson’s groups is exploring measurements of isotopic enrichments with the doubly labeled water method in both saliva and breath.  This work has the potential to reduce the analytical costs associated with the doubly labeled water method to measure energy expenditure in free-living humans.  

Selected Publications 

  • Melanson EL, Dykstra JC, Szuminsky N. A novel approach for measuring energy expenditure in free-living humans. Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2009;1:6873-7. PUBMED

  • Melanson EL, Gozansky WS, Barry DW, Maclean PS, Grunwald GK, Hill JO. When energy balance is maintained, exercise does not induce negative fat balance in lean sedentary, obese sedentary, or lean endurance-trained individuals. J Appl Physiol. 2009 Dec;107(6):1847-56. PUBMED

  • Melanson EL, Astrup A, Donahoo WT. The relationship between dietary fat and fatty acid intake and body weight, diabetes, and the metabolic syndrome. Ann Nutr Metab. 2009;55(1-3):229-43. PUBMED

  • MacLean PS, Higgins JA, Wyatt HR, Melanson EL, Johnson GC, Jackman MR, Giles ED, Brown IE, Hill JO. Regular exercise attenuates the metabolic drive to regain weight after long-term weight loss. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2009 Sep;297(3):R793-802 PUBMED

  • Christensen R, Lorenzen JK, Svith CR, Bartels EM, Melanson EL, Saris WH, Tremblay A, Astrup A. Effect of calcium from dairy and dietary supplements on faecal fat excretion: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Obes Rev. 2009 Jul;10(4):475-86. PUBMED

  • Sazonov ES, Schuckers SA, Lopez-Meyer P, Makeyev O, Melanson EL, Neuman MR, Hill JO. Toward objective monitoring of ingestive behavior in free-living population. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2009 Oct;17(10):1971-5. PUBMED

  • Melanson EL, MacLean PS, Hill JO.Exercise improves fat metabolism in muscle but does not increase 24-h fat oxidation. Exerc Sport Sci Rev. 2009 Apr;37(2):93-101. PUBMED

  • Volpe SL, Melanson EL, Kline G. Validation of bioelectrical impedance analysis to hydrostatic weighing in male body builders. Acta Diabetol. 2009. PUBMED

  • Sazonov E, Schuckers S, Lopez-Meyer P, Makeyev O, Sazonova N, Melanson EL, Neuman M. Non-invasive monitoring of chewing and swallowing for objective quantification of ingestive behavior. Physiol Meas. 2008 May;29(5):525-41. PUBMED

  • Melanson EL, Donahoo WT, Grunwald GK, Schwartz R. Changes in 24-h substrate oxidation in older and younger men in response to exercise. J Appl Physiol. 2007 Nov;103(5):1576-82. PUBMED


Coming Soon!

Reasearch Interests


·        Obesity

·        Energy Metabolism​