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Janine A. Higgins, PhD

Associate Professor of Pediatrics

Janine Higgins, PhD

Doctoral Degree

  • Biochemistry, University of Sydney, 1996


  • Research Fellow, Deptartment of Biomedical Science, University of Wollongong, Australia, 1997-1999
  • Research Fellow, Center for Human Nutrition, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, CO, 1999-2003

My primary research interest is focused on the optimal diet for good health in people of all ages and health status, with particular emphasis on the amelioration of obesity. To achieve this goal, I investigate:

  • the metabolic effects of resistant starch in overweight children, healthy adults, and obesity-prone rats
  • the effects of different diets and exercise regimes on weight regain following weight loss in obesity-prone rats
  • better ways to assess dietary intake, particularly in children, with emphasis on photographic food records
  • development of better refeeding diets for the treatment of anorexia nervosa in children (this is a new area of research initiated with pilot funding in 2010)
  • Pharmacia Award for Excellence in Molecular Biology, 1991
  • Representative to the University of Sydney Biochemistry Departmental Board, 1992-1995
  • Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Post-graduate Student Poster Award, 1994
  • Representative to the Science Faculty Teaching Committee, University of Sydney, 1994-1995
  • Australian Diabetes Society/Rhône Poulenc Rorer Career Development Award, 1997
  • Australian Diabetes Society International Travel Grant, 1997
  • Starch Australasia International Travel Grant, 1997
  • Bacha F, Pyle L, Nadeau K, Cuttler L, Goland R, Haymond M, Levitsky L, Lynch J, Weinstock RS, White NH, Caprio S, Arslanian S, TODAY Study Group (Higgins J). Determinants of glycemic control in youth with type 2 diabetes at randomization in the TODAY study. Pediatr Diabetes. 2012 Aug;13(5):376-83. [PMID: 22332798]
  • Higgins JA. Whole grains, legumes, and the subsequent meal effect: implications for blood glucose control and the role of fermentation. J Nutr Metab. 2012;2012:829238. [PMID: 22132324]
  • Higgins JA, Brown IL. Resistant starch: a promising dietary agent for the prevention/treatment of inflammatory bowel disease and bowel cancer. Curr Opin Gastroenterol. 2013 Mar;29(2):190-4. [PMID: 23385525]
  • Laffel L, Chang N, Grey M, Hale D, Higgins L, Hirst K, Izquierdo R, Larkin M, Macha C, Pham T, Wauters A, Weinstock RS, TODAY Study Group (Higgins J). Metformin monotherapy in youth with recent onset type 2 diabetes: experience from the prerandomization run-in phase of the TODAY study. Pediatr Diabetes. 2012 Aug;13(5):369-75. [PMID: 22369102]
  • Maahs DM, Higgins J. Is carbohydrate counting enough? Towards perfection or unwanted complexity?. Diabetes Technol Ther. 2012 Jan;14(1):3-5. [PMID: 22066526]
  • Zeitler P, Hirst K, Pyle L, Linder B, Copeland K, Arslanian S, Cuttler L, Nathan DM, Tollefsen S, Wilfley D, Kaufman F, TODAY Study Group (Higgins J). A clinical trial to maintain glycemic control in youth with type 2 diabetes. N Engl J Med. 2012 Jun 14;366(24):2247-56. [PMID: 22540912]
  • Higgins JA, Jackman MR, Brown IL, Johnson GC, Steig A, Wyatt HR, Hill JO, Maclean PS. Resistant starch and exercise independently attenuate weight regain on a high fat diet in a rat model of obesity. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2011 Jul 7;8:49. [PMID: 21736742]
  • Steig AJ, Jackman MR, Giles ED, Higgins JA, Johnson GC, Mahan C, Melanson EL, Wyatt HR, Eckel RH, Hill JO, MacLean PS. Exercise reduces appetite and traffics excess nutrients away from energetically efficient pathways of lipid deposition during the early stages of weight regain. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2011 Sep;301(3):R656-67. [PMID: 21715696]
  • TODAY Study Group, Wilfley D, Berkowitz R, Goebel-Fabbri A, Hirst K, Ievers-Landis C, Lipman TH, Marcus M, Ng D, Pham T, Saletsky R, Schanuel J, Van Buren D. Binge eating, mood, and quality of life in youth with type 2 diabetes: baseline data from the today study. Diabetes Care. 2011 Apr;34(4):858-60. [PMID: 21357794]
  • Copeland KC, Zeitler P, Geffner M, Guandalini C, Higgins J, Hirst K, Kaufman FR, Linder B, Marcovina S, McGuigan P, Pyle L, Tamborlane W, Willi S, TODAY Study Group. Characteristics of adolescents and youth with recent-onset type 2 diabetes: the TODAY cohort at baseline. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2011 Jan;96(1):159-67. [PMID: 20962021]
  • Haymond M, Anderson B, Bush C, The TODAY Study Group (2010) Design of a family-based lifestyle intervention for youth with type 2 diabetes: the TODAY study. Int J Obesity 349(5): 946-946.
  • Higgins JA, LaSalle AL, Zhaoxing P, Kasten MY, Bing KN, Ridzon SE, and Witten TL (2009) Validation of photographic food records in children: are pictures really worth a thousand words? Eur J Clin Nutr 2009 63(8):1025-33. [PMID: 19259111]
  • Higgins JA and Donahoo WT (2009) Adiposity is The Enemy: Body Composition and Insulin Sensitivity in “Insulin Resistance: Childhood Precursors and Adult Disease”. 1st Ed. Editors; Zeitler P and Nadeau K. Humana Press.
  • MacLean PS, Higgins JA, Wyatt HR, Melanson EL, Johnson GC, Jackman MR, Giles ED, Brown IE, Hill JO (2009) Regular exercise attenuates the metabolic drive to regain weight after long-term weight loss. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 297(3):R793-802. [PMID: 19587114]
  • Brown MA, Storlein LH, Huang XF, Tapsell LC, Else PL, Higgins JA, Brown IL (2009) Dietray fat and carbohydrate composition: Metabolic disease in “Fat Detection; Tase, texture, and post ingestive effects”. 1st Ed Editors: Montmayeur JP and le Coutre J. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL.
  • Margaret Grey, Barbara Schreiner, Laura Pyle, and the TODAY Study Group (2009) Development of a Diabetes Education Program for Youth With Type 2 Diabetes. The Diabetes Educator 35: 108-115. [PMID: 19244566]
  • Jackman MR, Steig A, Higgins JA, Johnson GC, Fleming-Elder BK, Bessesen DH, MacLean PS. (2008) Weight Regain After Sustained Weight Reduction is Accompanied by Suppressed Oxidation of Dietary Fat and Adipocyte Hyperplasia. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 294: R1117-R1129. [PMID: 18287221]
  • The TODAY Study Group (2007) Treatment Options for Type 2 Diabetes in Adolescents and Youth (TODAY): a study of the comparative efficacy of metformin alone or in combination with rosiglitazone or lifestyle intervention in adolescents with type 2 diabetes. Pediatric Diabetes 8: 74–87. [PMID: 19823189]
  • Higgins JA, Brown MA, Storlien LH (2006) Consumption of resistant starch decreases postprandial lipogenesis in white adipose tissue of the rat. Nutr J. 20:25. [PMID: 16987425]
  • Maclean PS, Higgins JA, Jackman MR, Johnson GC, Fleming-Elder BK, Wyatt HR, Melanson EL, Hill JO (2006) Peripheral Metabolic Responses to Prolonged Weight Reduction that Promote Rapid, Efficient Regain in Obesity-Prone Rats. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 290:R1577-88. [PMID: 16455763]
  • Thomas Songer, Judith Glazner, Laura Coombs, Leona Cuttler, Lori Laffel, Ping Zhang, Mary Daniel, Silvia Estrada, Georgeanna Klingensmith, Andrea Kriska, and the TODAY Study Group (2006) Examining the economic costs related to lifestyle and pharmacological interventions in youth with Type 2 diabetes. Expert Rev. Pharmacoeconomics Outcomes Res. 6: 315–324. [PMID:19774104]
  • Higgins JA, Higbee DR, Donahoo WT, Brown IL, Bell ML, Bessesen DH (2004) Resistant starch consumption promotes lipid oxidation. Nutr. Metab. 1:8. [PMID: 15507129]
  • Higgins, JA (2004) Resistant starch: metabolic effects and potential health benefits. J. AOAC Int. 87: 761-8. [PMID: 15287677]
  • Donahoo WT, Bessesen DH, Higbee DR, Lei S, Grunwald GK, Higgins JA (2004) Assessment of Dietary Compliance Using Serum Lithium. J. Nutr. 134 : 3133-3136. [PMID: 15514287]
  • MacLean PS, Higgins JA, Johnson GC, Fleming-Elder BK, Donahoo WT, Melanson EL, Hill JO. (2004) Enhanced metabolic efficiency contributes to weight regain after weight loss in obesity-prone rats. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 287: R1306-15. [PMID: 15331386]
  • MacLean PS, Higgins JA, Johnson GC, Fleming-Elder BK, Peters JC, Hill JO. (2004) Metabolic adjustments with the development, treatment, and recurrence of obesity in obesity-prone rats.Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 287:R288-97. [PMID: 15044180]
  • Higgins, JA (2004) The role of resistant starch consumption in weight loss. Agro FOOD Industry HiTech. Jan/Feb: 45-47.
  • Brown, MA, Storlien, LH, Brown, IL, Higgins, JA (2003) Cooking attenuates the ability of high-amylose meals to reduce plasma insulin concentrations in rats. Br J Nutr. 90:823-7. [PMID: 13129452]
  • Storlien LH, Tapsell LC, Fraser A, Leslie E, Ball K, Higgins JA, Helge JW, Owen N (2001) Insulin resistance. Influence of diet and physical activity. World Rev Nutr Diet. 90:26-43. [PMID: 11545043]
  • Storlien, L, Higgins, J, Thomas, T, Brown, M, Wang, H.Q, Wang, X.F, and Else, P. (2000) Diet composition and insulin action in animal models. Br. J. Nutr. 83: S85-S90. [PMID: 10889797]
  • Higgins JA, Proctor D, and Denyer GS (1999) Aging changes tissue-specific glucose metabolism in rats. Metab. 48: 1445-1449. [PMID: 10582555]
  • Colwell D, Higgins J, and Denyer G (1996) Incorporation of 2 deoxy D glucose into glycogen. Implications for measurement of tissue specific glucose uptake and utilisation. Int. J. Biochem. Mol. Biol. 28: 115-121. [PMID: 8624840]
  • Higgins J, Brand Miller J, and Denyer G (1996) Long-term consequences of amylose, amylopectin and glucose feeding in the rat. J. Nutr. 126: 596-602. [PMID: 8598543]
  • Storlien L, Else P, Edwell F, Thomas T, Tapsell L, Calvert G, Higgins J. Dietary fats, obesity and insulin resistance. In: Progress in Obesity Research: 8, G Ailhaud & B Guy-Grand, eds. John Libbey & Co. London, 1998, pp. 495-501.
  • Wiseman C, Higgins J, Denyer G, and Brand Miller J (1996) Amylopectin starch induces non-reversible insulin resistance in rats. J. Nutr. 126: 410-415. [PMID: 8632213]