Texas Tech University

Nutritional Sciences Researcher Wins $400K NIH Grant to Study Obesity

Heidi Toth

April 30, 2015

Dr. Shu Wang will research the effectiveness of delivering an anti-obesity compound directly to fat cells through nanotechnology.

Shu Wang
Dr. Shu Wang

A Texas Tech University nutritional sciences professor received an almost $400,000 grant from the National Institute of Health to study obesity.

The project of Dr. Shu Wang, who researches nutrition, inflammation and chronic diseases, centers around resveratrol, a plant compound with potential to both prevent and treat obesity. She and co-investigators Guigen Li and Yehia Mechref, both chemistry professors at Texas Tech, will develop a biocompatible and biodegradable nanoparticle carrier system to deliver the resveratrol to the fat cells in mice. They will test to see if delivering the resveratrol directly to the fat tissue will enhance the compound's effectiveness in treating obesity.

“Since obesity is a major risk factor for many chronic diseases in the United States, the outcome of this project may eventually help to improve the quality of life and produce dramatic savings in the cost of medical care,” Wang said.

Dr. Gordon Brackee, a veterinary professor at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, will consult on the project.
Wang, who has both a medical degree and a doctorate in nutritional biochemistry, researches the relationship between diet and chronic diseases, including obesity and cardiovascular disease. She is a pioneer in using nanocarriers to enhance the bioactivities in nutrients as a way to prevent and treat diseases. She served on the editorial advisory board of the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry and authored the second most downloaded article published in that journal. In addition to this grant, Wang has secured more than $850,000 in grants for her research.

She won a distinguished research award as part of Texas Tech's Chancellor's Council Awards earlier this year and was a finalist for the American Heart Association's Young Investor Award.