New Faculty

Dr. Joseph Beals joins the Department of Medicine

Joseph Beals, PhD

Dr. Joseph Beals joined the Department of Medicine in the Division of Geriatrics and Nutritional Sciences as an Instructor in May, 2021.

Dr. Beals earned his PhD from the Division of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His dissertation work focused on the influence of adult obesity on postprandial and post-exercise skeletal muscle inflammatory and anabolic signaling responses, and how these mechanisms relate to the synthesis rates of muscle subcellular protein fractions. These studies demonstrated that alterations in anabolic signaling pathways blunt the subsequent stimulation of myofibrillar protein synthesis rates in response to food ingestion or muscle contraction in people with obesity. This work extends a wealth of literature regarding glucose and lipid metabolism to show that skeletal muscle protein metabolism is also affected by obesity.

In 2018, Dr. Beals joined Dr. Samuel Klein’s laboratory at the School of Medicine at Washington University in St. Louis as a postdoctoral fellow, and since that time he has worked on a variety of clinical research projects. Ongoing research projects include: i) studying the effect of sleep extension on metabolic function in people with obesity who are short sleepers, which assess the impact of increasing sleep duration on multi-organ insulin sensitivity; and ii) evaluating the effect of Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery-induced weight loss on liver health and metabolic function, including examining weight loss-induced changes in liver histology and rates of de novo lipogenesis and fibrogenesis assessed using the heavy water technique.

Dr. Beals’ research will continue to examine interventions aimed at improving metabolism in people with obesity. Future work will address the interplay between key metabolic tissues (muscle, liver, and adipose) to affect whole-body metabolism as well as the mechanistic underpinnings within these tissues.