Professor of Nutritional Sciences
End Degree: Ph.D.
Sue Shapses is Senior Program Advisor for Kinesiology and Health and has been a Professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences since 1991. She received her MS in 1982 and PhD in 1988 from Columbia University (Institute of Human Nutrition), followed by postdoctoral training at Albert Einstein College of Medicine (Critical Care Medicine) and focused on protein and energy relationships in pulmonary patients. This led to a 2 year fellowship at Columbia University (Orthopaedic Biochemistry) focused on proteoglycans in cartilage, growth plate and bone turnover. Earlier in her career, she completed her internship in the nutrition field (RD) and BS at Strong Memorial Medical Center in Rochester and Syracuse University. She has served on national committees including the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to develop the Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin D and Calcium at the National Academy of Sciences. She serves as the Team Leader of the N.J. Obesity Group and also devotes time to review panels for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to prevent the risk of bone loss in healthy and special populations.
The major focus in the laboratory is to determine how obesity and loss of body weight contributes to the risk of osteoporosis. Evidence shows that subjects who diet and lose weight also lose bone. Our goal is to determine mechanisms that regulate the rate of bone turnover and bone loss during caloric restriction and the role of specific nutrients such as vitamin D, protein and calcium. Bone turnover is measured in the urine and blood using techniques of spectrophotometry, HPLC, and radioimmunoassay. Calcium absorption (using stable isotopes and mass spec) and bone-regulating hormones are examined in these studies to address mechanisms of regulation. In addition, studies examining gastric bypass patients examine how obesity surgery influences calcium homeostasis and bone maass. Due to the high rate of morbidity and mortality associated with osteoporotic fractures, we also use rodent models to better understand how nutrition regulates bone turnover, composition, and biomechanical properties. The use of biochemical markers of bone turnover to estimate the early rate of growth in human and in equine studies have also been addressed. We also examine the regulation of bone in disease states associated with changes in bone mass. For example, we have studied how glycemic control and hormones regulate bone turnover in insulin-dependent patients with diabetes. We are currently studying how vitamin D affects insulin resistance, bone quality and cognition. In addition, the influence of dietary lipids and the endocrine regulation of bone and adiposity is an ongoing interest in the laboratory.