Douglas E Befroy DPhil

Research Scientist in Diagnostic Radiology and in Medicine (Endocrinology)

Research Interests

Development of novel Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS) techniques

Research Summary

My research focuses on the development of novel Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS) techniques to investigate muscle and liver metabolism in vivo. MRS is a unique tool because it enables a variety of parameters of metabolism to be investigated, including metabolite concentrations, cellular oxygenation, and the rates of different metabolic reactions. At present, I am interested in the regulation of muscle mitochondrial function versus capacity, and how this is affected by conditions known to modulate metabolism - e.g., endurance training, aging, and diabetes. To investigate this effectively requires the development of robust MRS biomarkers of mitochondrial metabolism, which is the current target of my research.

Selected Publications

  • Assessment of in vivo mitochondrial metabolism by magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Befroy DE, Falk Petersen K, Rothman DL, Shulman GI. Methods Enzymol. 2009;457:373-93.
  • Magnetic resonance spectroscopy studies of human metabolism. Befroy DE, Shulman GI. Diabetes. 2011 May;60(5):1361-9.
  • DE Befroy, KF Petersen, S Dufour, GF Mason, DL Rothman and GI Shulman. Increased Substrate Oxidation and Mitochondrial Uncoupling in Skeletal Muscle of Endurance Trained Individuals. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 105:16701-16706, 2008. PMID: 18936488.
  • DE Befroy, CS Choi, R Codella, S Kim, RM Reznick, YJ Hwang, ZX Liu, HY Lee, A Distefano, VT Samuel, D Zhang, GW Cline, C Handschin, J Lin, KF Petersen, BM Spiegelman, GI Shulman. Paradoxical Effects of Increased Expression of PGC-1 on Muscle Mitochondrial Function and Insulin Stimulated Muscle Glucose Metabolism. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 105(50):19926-31, 2008.
  • DE Befroy, KF Petersen, S Dufour, GF Mason, RA de Graaf, DL Rothman and GI Shulman. Impaired Mitochondrial Substrate Oxidation in Muscle of Insulin-Resistant Offspring of Type 2 Diabetic Patients. Diabetes 56:1376-1381, 2007. PMID: 17287462.
  • KF Petersen, D Befroy, S Dufour, J Dzuira, C Ariyan, DL Rothman, L DiPietro, GW Cline and GI Shulman. Mitochondrial dysfunction in the elderly: possible role in insulin resistance. Science. 300:1140-1142, 2003. PMID: 12750520.
  • KF Petersen, S Dufour, D Befroy, Rina Reyes and GI Shulman. Impaired mitochondrial activity in insulin-resistant offspring of Type 2 diabetics. N. Engl. J. Med. 350: 664-671, 2004. PMID: 14960743.

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