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Christopher Blesso, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Advanced Technology Laboratory, Room 211B
Phone: (860) 486-9049
Email: christopher.blesso@uconn.edu

Education

  • 2012 – Ph.D. Nutritional Sciences, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT
  • 2008 – M.S. Nutrition, Boston University, Boston, MA
  • 2007 – B.S. Nutritional Sciences, Boston University, Boston, MA

Professional Experience and Training

  • 2013 – Present Assistant Professor, Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT
  • 2012 – 2013 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Pathology-Lipid Sciences, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC

Honors and Awards

  • 2017Dr. Lynne Goodstein and Dr. Peter Langer Award for Honors Advising
  • 2013Postdoctoral Fellowship, American Heart Association, Mid-Atlantic Affiliate
  • 2012Robert G. Jensen Nutrition Award for Research Excellence, University of Connecticut
  • 2009 – 2012National Needs Predoctoral Fellowship Award, USDA

Professional Affiliations

  • 2012 – PresentMember, American Heart Association
  • 2009 – PresentMember, American Society for Nutrition

Professional Activities

  • 2012-PresentAd hoc reviewer for: Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism; Journal of Medicinal Food; Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases; PLOS ONE; Nutrients; British Journal of Nutrition; Frontiers in Endocrinology; Molecular Nutrition and Food Research; Lipids; Nutrition; Food & Function; International Journal of Molecular Sciences; Journal of the American College of Nutrition; Advances in Nutrition; Journal of Functional Foods; Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism; The Journal of Nutrition.
  • 2018-Present Editorial Board Member, The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry
  • 2018-Present Editorial Board Member, Nutrients

Research Interests

My research interests focus on preventing complex, nutritionally-modifiable chronic diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, and atherosclerosis. A major research goal of my laboratory is to elucidate how various bioactive components from plant and animal foods impact pathways related to inflammation, lipid and lipoprotein metabolism. Specifically, I am interested in the effects of dietary polar lipids on obesity-related disease and the role of diet in preventing lipoprotein dysfunction and heart disease. Our current research projects examine the impact of polar lipids on the health effects of dietary fat and cholesterol. We utilize tissue culture and mouse models of human disease to examine disease pathogenesis using molecular biology and biochemistry techniques. We hope that findings from our molecular nutrition studies will support further research in humans, and ultimately, translate into nutritional recommendations that will help to reduce chronic disease.

Publications

Peer-reviewed Articles

Book Chapters

  • Fernandez ML, Blesso CN. Dietary Cholesterol and the Lack of Evidence on Heart Disease Risk, in Handbook of Cholesterol Biology, function and role in health and diseases, Wageningen Academic Publishers, 2016.
  • Blesso CN, Andersen CJ, Fernandez ML. Egg Effects on HDL Metabolism, Inflammation and Insulin Resistance, in Nutritional Intervention in Metabolic Syndrome, CRC Press, 2015.

Grants

  • Dairy Management, Inc., “Milk Phospholipids for the Prevention of Atherosclerosis”, Role in Project: Principal Investigator, 3/2017-8/2019
  • UCONN Research Excellence Program, “Defining the Impact of Dietary Sphingomyelin on Lipopolysaccharide Translocation and Inflammation”, Role in Project: Principal Investigator, 6/2017-5/2018
  • American Egg Board, “Anti-Inflammatory and Hypolipidemic Effects of Egg Sphingomyelin for the Prevention of Atherosclerosis: A Pilot Study”, Role in Project: Principal Investigator, 1/2017 – 12/2017
  • California Table Grape Commission, “Effects of a Standardized Freeze-Dried Grape Powder on HDL Function in Metabolic Syndrome”, Role in Project: Principal Investigator, 8/2015 – 7/2016
  • USDA/NIFA AFRI Seed Grant, “Black Elderberry as a Novel Functional Food: Protection from HDL Dysfunction in Chronic Inflammation”, Role in Project: Principal Investigator, 2/2015 – 1/2017
  • USDA Hatch Grant, “Regulation of HDL Function by Elderberry Anthocyanins”, Role in Project: Principal Investigator, 10/2014 – 9/2019
  • UCONN Research Foundation Faculty Large Grant, “Evaluation of Black Elderberry on HDL Dysfunction in Obesity”, Role in Project: Principal Investigator, 1/2014-12/2014

Teaching Activities

  • NUSC 1165 Fundamentals of Nutrition
  • NUSC 4237W Writing in Nutritional Sciences
  • NUSC 5394 Graduate Seminar
  • NUSC 5398 Special Topics: Regulation of Food Intake and Energy Balance

Graduate Students

  • Liya Anto, Ph.D., in progress.
  • Courtney Millar, Ph.D., in progress.
  • Christina Jiang, M.S., completed in September 2018.
  • Gregory Norris, Ph.D., completed in June 2018
  • Quinn Duclos, M.S., completed in July 2017.
  • Nicholas Farrell, M.S., completed in June 2015.
News and Updates

Seminar Series
A Seminar Series Presented by the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Connecticut
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Scholarships

Please go to the CAHNR Scholarships and Financial Aid page for Scholarship information