Ronald M. Evans, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, examines environment, lifestyle, diet, marketing, and biology as contributors to the obesity epidemic. How do our bodies balance the storage and burning of dietary fat? Fat carries information about how it should be used. Saturated fats are hard to break down, so they tend to get stored, while unsaturated fats are more readily consumed for energy. Too much stored fat leads to elevated blood glucose levels, which triggers insulin resistance -- the first step toward diabetes. Dr. Evans explores how diet and exercise influence the relationship between fat and muscle, precipitating diseases such as syndrome X, a disorder involving high blood pressure, heart disease, atherosclerosis, and insulin resistance.
Ronald M. Evans (born April 17, 1949, Los Angeles) is an American professor and biologist who works at Salk Institute for Biological Studies near San Diego, California. He received his BS and PhD degrees from UCLA, followed by a postdoctoral training in Rockefeller University. He became a faculty member in Salk Institute in 1978 and Adjunct Professor in Biology, Biomedical Sciences, Neuroscience in UCSD (1985, 1989, 1995). He was named the HHMI Investigator, in the Salk Institute in 1985 and March of Dimes Chair in Molecular and Developmental Neurobiology in 1998.
His research focus is on the function of nuclear hormone signaling and metabolism. In 2004 he received the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research. In 2006, he won the Gairdner Foundation International Award. He has an h-index in the top ten of living biologists.