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Nishanth E. Sunny, PhD

Nishanth E. Sunny, PhD
Assistant Professor


TEL: 352.273.8464
FAX: 352.273.8249





With a degree in Veterinary Medicine from Kerala, India, Dr. Sunny came to University of Maryland, College Park in 2002 where he earned his MS (2005) and PhD (2008) in Animal Nutrition, under the mentorship of Dr. Brian J. Bequette. Following his PhD, Dr. Sunny joined the laboratory of Dr. Shawn C. Burgess at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center for a postdoctoral fellowship (2008-2010), profiling hepatic metabolism in animal models and human subjects with insulin resistance, diabetes and fatty liver. Dr. Sunny was promoted to Assistant Instructor (2010-2011) under Dr. Burgess following his fellowship. Dr. Sunny joined the Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes at University of Florida as a faculty in January 2012.




College of Veterinary & Animal Sciences, Kerala, India
Veterinary Medicine
University of Maryland
Animal Nutrition
Post-doctoral training
University of Texas Southwestern
Intermediary Metabolism

Academic/Research Interests:

  • Dr. Sunny uses stable isotope based Mass Spectrometry and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance in combination with standard tools in molecular biology to profile glucose, lipid and mitochondrial metabolism in animal models of obesity and diabetes as well as in human studies. Defects in insulin signaling associated with insulin resistance and diabetes results in multiple metabolic derangements, either through altered nutrient transport or defective intracellular nutrient/molecular signaling mechanisms. These derangements are not limited to pathways of glucose and lipid metabolism, but also extend to pathways of urea and amino acid metabolism. Dr. Sunny’s research interest is in identifying shared metabolic defects contributing to the progression of insulin resistance and diabetes, leading to fat accumulation and further complications in the liver. To this end, he works on various rodent models of obesity and/or diabetes in which experimental metabolic perturbations are carefully examined by means of state-of-the-art techniques (i.e., euglycemic hyperinsulinemic clamp, use of stable isotopes,  NMR, other) to tease out and amplify metabolic alterations contributing to disease progression. Dr. Sunny also has vast experience in profiling hepatic glucose and mitochondrial metabolism using stable isotopes in human subjects with fatty liver.

Selected publications (from most recent):

  • Sunny NE, Parks EJ, Browning JD, Burgess SC. (2011) Excessive hepatic mitochondrial TCA cycle and gluconeogenesis in humans with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Cell Metab.14: 804-810. PMID: 22152305
  • Sunny NE, Bequette BJ. (2011) Glycerol is a major substrate for glucose, glycogen and non essential amino acid synthesis in late term chicken embryos. J. Anim. Sci. 89: 3945-3953.  PMID: 21764833
  • Potthoff MJ, Boney-Montoya J, Choi M, He T, Sunny NE, Satapati S, Suino-Powell K, Xu HE, Gerard RD, Finck BN, Burgess SC, Mangelsdorf DJ, Kliewer SA. (2011) FGF15/19 regulates hepatic glucose metabolism by inhibiting the CREB-PGC-1α pathway. Cell Metab. 13: 729 – 738.  PMID: 21641554; PMCID: PMC3131185
  • Kucejova B, Sunny NE, Nguyen AD, Hallac R, Fu X, Pena-Llopis S, Mason RP, DeBerardinis RJ, Xie XJ, DeBose-Boyd R, Kodibagkar V D, Burgess SC, Brugarolas J. (2011) Uncoupling hypoxia signaling from oxygen sensing in the liver results in hypoketotic hypoglycemic death. Oncogene. 30: 2147- 2160. PMID: 21217781; PMCID: PMC3135264
  • Sunny NE, Satapati S, Fu X, He T, Mehdbeigi R, Spring-Robinson CL, Duarte J, Potthoff M, Browning J, Burgess SC. (2010) Progressive adaptation of ketogenesis in mice fed a high fat diet. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 298 (6) E1226-35. PMID: 20233938; PMCID: PMC2886525
  • Sunny NE, Bequette BJ. (2010) Gluconeogenesis differs in developing chick embryos derived from small compared with typical size broiler breeder eggs. J. Anim. Sci. 88:912-921. PMID: 19966165
  • El-Kadi SW, Baldwin VI RL, McLeod KR, Sunny NE, Bequette BJ. (2009) Glutamate is the major anaplerotic substrate in the tricarboxylic acid cycle of isolated rumen epithelial and duodenal mucosal cells from beef cattle. J Nutr. 139:869-875. PMID: 19282370
  • Sunny NE, Owens SL, Baldwin VI RL, El-Kadi SW, Bequette BJ. (2007) Salvage of blood urea nitrogen in sheep is highly dependent upon plasma urea concentration and the efficiency of capture within the digestive tract. J. Anim. Sci. 85:1006–13. PMID: 17202392
  • Bequette BJ, Sunny NE, El-Kadi SW, Owens SL. (2006) Application of stable isotopes and mass isotopomer distribution analysis to the study of intermediary metabolism of nutrients. J. Anim. Sci. 84(E. Suppl.):E50–9.  PMID: 16582092
  • El-Kadi SW, Baldwin VI RL, Sunny NE, Owens SL, Bequette BJ. (2006) Intestinal protein supply alters amino acid, but not glucose, metabolism by the sheep gastrointestinal tract. J. Nutr. 136:1261-9. PMID: 16614414

Please click here for a list of Dr. Sunny’s industry relationships.

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