U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Susanne Votruba

 Contact Info

Tel: 602-200-5336
Email: votrubas@mail.nih.gov

 Select Experience

  • Senior Research FellowEndocrine Research Unit, The Mayo Clinic2003-2007
  • Dietetic Internship (Registered Dietitian)University of Wisconsin2002-2003
  • Research AssistantNorthrup King Seed Co1995-1997
  • Ph.D.University of Wisconsin2005
  • B.A.Carleton College1991-1995

 Related Links

  • Clinical Research
  • Nutritional Sciences
Research Summary/In Plain Language

Research Summary

Research Goal

The ultimate goal of our research is to investigate the multifaceted etiology of obesity and explore in depths both sides of the energy balance equation.​

Current Research

Our inpatient unit is dedicated to investigating the multifaceted etiology of obesity. As a part of this, we are interested in what drives food intake.  To do this, we are using a vending machine system from which study participants are allowed to choose a variety of foods at will throughout a given time period. Using the vending machine paradigm, we are working to test a wearable ingestion monitor to assess its accuracy and reliability for potential future use in outpatient settings. Additionally, one of our longer inpatient studies aims to validate the use of stable isotope biomarkers as representative of specific dietary intake patterns (meat/fish/soda).

We are also interested in exploring the validity of the thrifty and spendthrift phenotypes through intense inpatient studies that include weekly measurement of whole body metabolism as well as measurement of body composition, actual food intake, stool and urine output, body muscle and fat energy (through biopsies), and blood hormones.

Obesity and its related metabolic diseases and disorders are a major health epidemic in the United States and worldwide. Our research ultimately aims to find both better treatments and prevention for the development of obesity.

Need for Further Study

It is of utmost importance to develop more precise and accurate measures of food intake. In general, the research community has gotten fairly good at measuring energy expenditure, but we are woefully inadequate at assessing energy intake.  Without this, we can never have reliable studies of how diet and intake affect obesity or health.​​​