Martha Belury

Carol S. Kennedy Professor, Department of Human Sciences
Endowed Professorship, Department of Human Sciences

Program Area: Human Nutrition

(614) 292-1680

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Martha Belury is the Carol S. Kennedy professor of human nutrition in the Department of Human Sciences. Her research interests are investigating the mechanisms of bioactive lipids in regulating insulin sensitivity in liver, adipose and muscle; and the role of energy balance in cancer prevention.


  • PhD, Biological Sciences, University of Texas, Austin, 1992
  • BS, Nutrition, University of Texas, Austin, 1987

Research Interests

Research Summary

Our lab is chiefly interested in selective metabolic modulators in the diet.  The compounds that we study include polyunsaturated fatty acids and their metabolites as well as isoflavones and metabolites.  As signaling molecules and components of phospholipids, these molecules exert potent effects on mitochondrial and insulin-dependent energy metabolism.

Goals include:

  1. Determine the impact of fatty acid moieties and isoflavones on whole body energy metabolism as regulated by interactions between adipose, liver and muscle tissues
  2. Identify mechanisms of energy metabolism involving insulin-dependent and insulin–independent pathways in each of these tissues
  3. Evaluate how bioactive compounds modulate adipose-derived cytokines, e.g., adipokines, to regulate metabolism and inflammation
  4. Compare and contrast how energy deprivation induces atrophy of muscle and adipose using some mechanisms that overlap with “over-feeding”.  Pathways include altered metabolism, inflammation, proteolysis and cell death-associated signals
  5. Identifying the steps of atrophy related to insulin-resistance, proteolysis and cell death

Models include:

  1. murine models
  2. cell culture models
  3. Randomized controlled trials
  4. observational clinical studies


  • 2002 – Present: Carol S. Kennedy Endowed Professorship of Human Nutrition, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
  • 2009 – Present: Adjunct Professor, Division of Environmental Health, College of Public Health, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
  • 2004 – Present: Adjunct Professor, Division of Endocrinology, Department of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
  • 2002 – Present: Associate/ Full Professor, Human Nutrition, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
  • 2000 – 2002: Associate Member, Department of Molecular Medicine, Northwest Hospital, Seattle, WA
  • 1994 – 2000: Assistant/Associate Professor, Department of Foods and Nutrition, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana
  • 1992 – 1994: Assistant Professor, Department of Health and Human Development, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana


  • 2021:  Vice President of the American Society for Nutrition (ASN) followed by terms as President 2022, Past President 2023
  • 2014: Robert H. Herman Memorial Award for Outstanding Research, American Society of Nutrition (ASN), Presented at Experimental Biology, San Diego, CA
  • 2012: Most Cited Paper [1] (ranked 17th) in 70-year history of Nutrition Reviews journal, International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI), Washington, DC ·    
  • 2011: Elected Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Washington, DC
  • 2011: Visiting Professorship, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan
  • 2003: Hot Paper [2], ESI Essential Scientific Indicators, Most Cited Paper for Agricultural Sciences for Third Quarter, Thomson Reuters
  • 2000: E.L.R Stokstad Award for Outstanding Research, American Society for Nutritional Sciences (ASNS), Presented at Experimental Biology, April 16, 2000, San Diego, CA
  • 1999: Outstanding Young Professional Award for 1999, Texas Exes in Human Ecology, University of Texas, Austin, TX
  • 1993: Most Influential Teacher, College of Education, Health and Human Development, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT
  • 1992: Pre-Doctoral Training Grant in Toxicology, NIEHS, NIH, University of Texas, Austin, TX

[1] Belury, MA. Conjugated dienoic linoleate:  A unique chemoprotective polyunsaturated fatty acid.  Nutr Rev 1995; 53: 83-89
[2] Belury, MA. Dietary conjugated linoleic acid in health: Physiological effects and mechanisms of action. Annu Rev Nutr 2002; 22: 505-531

Selected Grants

Effects of Dietary Soybean Oil on Liver Fat, Body Composition and Cardiometabolic Disease Risk in Adults with NAFLD

Martha Belury, PI United Soybean Board, Soy Nutrition Institute
In this double blind, randomized controlled study, diets of adults with NAFLD will be fortified with soybean or control oil to determine effects on liver fat concentration changes without weight loss.

National Needs Fellowship: Multidisciplinary Training of Fellows in Food & Nutrition for Obesity & Cancer Prevention 

Martha Belury, PI USDA 2017-09503
This is a pre-doctoral training grant to provide stipend, tuition and fees for three distinguished pre-doctoral fellows in nutrition and foods sciences areas. Dietary fats, mitochondrial function and muscle health in cancer patients

Dietary fats, mitochondrial function and muscle health in cancer patients 

Martha Belury and Subha Raman, Dual PI NIH/NCI R21206566
This is a prospective study that will explore the relationship between mitochondrial phospholipid composition with changes of cardiac and skeletal muscle function in breast cancer patients before and during chemotherapy.

Optimizing Mitochondrial Functional Analysis on Fresh and Frozen Muscle Biopsy Tissue

Kedryn Baskin, PI 
Role: Co-I Foods for Health Initiative, OSU
Our goal is to develop and validate technique for measuring mitochondrial respiration from skeletal muscle biopsy samples isolated from humans.

Remote Assessment of Cognition, Insulin Resistance and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Biomarkers in Obese Breast Cancer Survivors at Risk for Cognitive Impairment 

Tonya Orchard, PI
Role: Co-I College of Education and Human Ecology
We are developing and validating a method to assess dried blood spot methods for measuring fatty acid composition and metabolic markers in blood
Role:  Co-I

Cardiometabolic Effects of Low Carbohydrate/Healthy Fat Diets / Macronutrient intakes & diet quality for contemporary consumer diets

Zach Conrad, PI
Role:  Co-I International Association of Food and Nutrition Science
This project utilizes NHANES data to model how varying the macro- and micro-nutrient compositions of several weight loss diets could impact overall cardiometabolic health in adults in the US.

Mediators of Pancreatic Cancer-Associated Cachexia

Zobeida Cruz-Monserrate, PI
Role:  Co-I NIH/NCI  CA R21 256409  
This is an exploratory grant to evaluate the role of lipocalin in cancer cachexia caused by pancreatic cancer.

Selected Publications

For Full Publication Access (Belury

  1. Snoke DB, Nishikawa Y, Cole RM, Ni A, Angelotti A, Vodovotz Y, Belury MA.  Dietary naringenin preserves insulin sensitivity and grip strength and attenuates inflammation but accelerates weight loss in a mouse model of cancer cachexia. Mol Nutr Food Res 2021, in press
  2. Butler MJ, Deems NP, Muscat S, Butt CM, Belury MA, Barrientos RM. Dietary DHA prevents cognitive impairment and inflammatory gene expression in aged male rats fed a diet enriched with refined carbohydrates. Brain Behav Immun 2021; in press
  3. Frankhouser DE, Steck S, Sovic MG, Belury MA, Wang Q, Clinton SK, Bundschuh R, Yan PS, Yee LD.  Dietary Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake Impacts Peripheral Blood DNA Methylation -Anti-inflammatory Effects and Individual Variability in a Pilot Study. J Nutr Biochem
  4. Belury MA, Cole RM, Andridge R, Keiter A, Raman SV, Lustberg MB, Kiecolt-Glaser JK.  Erythrocyte long chain omega-3 fatty acids are positively associated with lean mass and grip strength in women with recent diagnoses of breast cancer. J Nutr 2021; in press
  5. Madison, AA, Belury, MA, Andridge, R, Renna, ME, Shrout, MR, Malarkey, WB, Lin, J, Epel, ES, Kiecolt-Glaser, JK. Omega-3 supplementation and stress reactivity of cellular aging biomarkers: An ancillary substudy of a randomized, controlled trial in midlife adults. Mol Psychol 2021; in press
  6. Wilson SJ, Peng J, Andridge R, Jaremka LM, Fagundes CP, Malarkey WB, Belury MA, Kiecolt-Glaser JK. For better and worse? The importance of closeness, satisfaction, and age in spouses’ cardiometabolic similarity. Psychoneuroendocrinology 2020; 120:104777
  7. Cole RM, Puchala S, Ke J-Y, Abdel-Rasoul M, Harlow K, O’Donnell B, Bradley D, Andridge R, Borkowski K, Newman JW, Belury MA. Linoleic acid-rich oil supplementation increases total and high molecular weight adiponectin and alters plasma oxylipins in postmenopausal women with metabolic syndrome. Curr Dev Nutr 2020; 4: doi: 10.1093/cdn/nzaa136
  8. Butler M, Cole RM, Deems N, Belury MA, Barrientos R. Fatty food, fatty acids, and microglial priming in the adult and aged hippocampus and amygdala. Brain Behav Immun 2020; 89: 145-158
  9. Madison A, Belury MA, Andridge R, Shrout MR, Renna M, Malarkey W, Bailey M, Kiecolt-Glaser JK. Afternoon distraction: a high saturated fat meal and endotoxemia impact post-meal attention in a randomized crossover trial.  Am J Clin Nutr 2020;111: 1150-8
  10. Banh TH, Puchala SE, Cole RM, Andridge RR, Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Belury MA.  Blood level of adiponectin is positively associated with lean mass in women without type 2 diabetes. Menopause 2019; 26: 1311-7
  11. Padin AC, Hébert JR, Woody A, Wilson SJ, Shivappa N, Belury MA, Malarkey WB, Sheridan JF, Kiecolt-Glaser JK. A proinflammatory diet is associated with inflammatory gene expression among healthy, non-obese adults: Can social ties protect against the risks? Brain Behav Immun 2019; 82:36-44
  12. Bowman ER, Kulkarni M, Gabriel J, Cichon MJ, Riedl K, Belury MA, Lake JE, Richardson B, Cameron C, Cameron M, Koletar SL, Lederman MM, Sieg SF, Funderburg NT. Altered lipidome composition is related to markers of monocyte and immune activation in antiretroviral therapy treated human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and in uninfected persons. Front Immunol 2019; 10:785
  13. Angelotti A, Cole RM, Raatz SK, Belury MA. Evaluation of a rapid assessment questionnaire using a biomarker for dietary intake of n-3 fatty acids. Lipids 2019; 54: 321-8
  14. Orchard TS, Gaudier-Diaz MM, Phuwamongkolwiwat-Chu P, Andridge R, Lustberg MB, Bomser J, Cole RM, Belury MA, DeVries AC.  Low sucrose, omega-3 enriched diet has region-specific effects on neuroinflammation and synaptic function markers in a mouse model of doxorubicin-based chemotherapy. Nutrients 2018; 10:doi: 10.3390/nu10122004
  15. Banh T, Snoke D, Cole RM, Angelotti A, Schnell PM, Belury MA. Higher tumor mass and lower adipose mass are associated with colon-26 adenocarcinoma-induced cachexia in male, female and ovariectomized mice. Oncol Reports 2018; 41: 2909-18
  16. Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Wilson SJ, Bailey ML, Andridge R, Peng J, Jaremka LM, Fagundes CP, Malarkey WB, Laskowski B, Belury MA. Marital distress, depression, and a leaky gut: translocation of bacterial endotoxin as a pathway to inflammation.  Psychoneuroendocrinology 2018; 98:52-60
  17. Raatz SK, Conrad Z, Jahns L, Belury MA, Picklo MJ. Modeled replacement of traditional soybean and canola oil with high oleic varieties increases MUFA and reduces both SFA and PUFA intake in the US adult population. Am J Clin Nutr 2018; 108(3):594-602

Selected Presentations

  • Invited speaker, Putting out the fire:  Evidence that linoleic acid does not fuel inflammation.  ASN annual meeting, Experimental Biology ’13, Boston, MA, April 22, 2013
  • Keynote speaker, Metabolic consequences of an unemployed adipocyte. Celebratory conference honoring the retirement for Susan M. Fischer, PhD, Professor, MD Anderson and University of Texas, Smithville, TX, Oct 26, 2012
  •  Invited speaker, Using dietary oils to target the metabolic syndrome.  Department of Pediatrics, Louisiana State University, Shreveport, LA, Dec 13, 2011