• Ph.D., University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland, 1980, Human Physiology

Research Interests

Dr. Ravussin is a world expert in the conduct of translational research in obesity and type 2 diabetes. Over his more than 35 year career, he has conducted numerous clinical investigations on measures of energy expenditure, body composition, carbohydrate metabolism and biomarkers of aging in health and disease states. More specifically over the past 20 years he has established a wet lab studying skeletal muscle and adipose tissue cross talks and the relationship of these two tissues on inflammation, nutrient partitioning and insulin sensitivity. He has published more than 450 peer reviewed manuscripts in the field of obesity, type 2 diabetes and aging. He has mentored more than 60 postdoctoral fellows. Over the past 15 years he has conducted translational research on the impact of caloric restriction on biomarkers of aging, looked at the impact of weight loss and weight gain (overfeeding) in the cross talk between adipose and skeletal muscle and has conducted randomized clinical trial on the impact of dietary, activity, surgical and pharmacological interventions on insulin sensitivity. 

Departments:  Metabolic Chambers and Human Translational Physiology

Selected Publications

A. Ravussin was the first one to put together the methods of the hyperinsulimic euglycemic clamp and indirect calorimetry to quantify the fate of glucose disposal into glucose oxidation vs. non-oxidative glucose disposal rates.

  1. Ravussin E, Bogardus C. Thermogenic response to insulin and glucose infusions in man: a model to evaluate the different components of the thermic effect of carbohydrate. Life Sci. 1982 Nov 1;31(18):2011-8. PubMed PMID: 6757619.
  2. Ravussin E, Bogardus C, Schwartz RS, Robbins DC, Wolfe RR, Horton ES, Danforth E Jr, Sims EA. Thermic effect of infused glucose and insulin in man. Decreased response with increased insulin resistance in obesity and noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. J Clin Invest. 1983 Sep;72(3):893-902. PubMed PMID: 6350368; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC1129254.

B. Early in his career, Ravussin was involved in the building of the first human respiratory chamber in Lausanne, Switzerland. After building the first North America such chamber at NIDDK in Phoenix, he established for the first time the percentages of total daily energy expenditure accounted for by sleeping metabolic rate, the energy cost of arousal, the thermic effect of food and the energy spent in spontaneous physical activity. Then in combination with the doubly labeled water, he was able to quantify the energy cost (and level) of voluntary physical activity. More importantly, he identified the major physiological and genetic determinants of energy metabolism in humans.

  1. Bogardus C, Lillioja S, Ravussin E, Abbott W, Zawadzki JK, Young A, Knowler WC, Jacobowitz R, Moll PP. Familial dependence of the resting metabolic rate. N Engl J Med. 1986 Jul 10;315(2):96-100. PubMed PMID: 3724804.
  2. 4. Ravussin E, Lillioja S, Anderson TE, Christin L, Bogardus C. Determinants of 24-hour energy expenditure in man. Methods and results using a respiratory chamber. J Clin Invest. 1986 Dec;78(6):1568-78. PubMed PMID: 3782471; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC423919.
  3. Ravussin E, Lillioja S, Knowler WC, Christin L, Freymond D, Abbott WG, Boyce V, Howard BV, Bogardus C. Reduced rate of energy expenditure as a risk factor for body-weight gain. N Engl J Med. 1988 Feb 25;318(8):467-72. PubMed PMID: 3340128.

C. In the early 2000s, Ravussin undertook a series of experiments to investigate the cross-talk between adipose tissue and skeletal muscle as determinants of insulin sensitivity in response to caloric restriction, overfeeding and physical activity on these factors.

  1. Ravussin E, Smith SR. Increased fat intake, impaired fat oxidation, and failure of fat cell proliferation result in ectopic fat storage, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2002 Jun;967:363-78. PubMed PMID: 12079864.
  2. Albu JB, Heilbronn LK, Kelley DE, Smith SR, Azuma K, Berk ES, Pi-Sunyer FX, Ravussin E. Metabolic changes following a 1-year diet and exercise intervention in patients with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes. 2010 Mar;59(3):627-33. PubMed PMID: 20028945; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2828653.
  3. Johannsen DL, Tchoukalova Y, Tam CS, Covington JD, Xie W, Schwarz JM, Bajpeyi S, Ravussin E. Effect of 8 weeks of overfeeding on ectopic fat deposition and insulin sensitivity: testing the "adipose tissue expandability" hypothesis. Diabetes Care. 2014 Oct;37(10):2789-97. PubMed PMID: 25011943; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4170127.PMC2692623.

D. Over the past 10 years, Ravussin became involved in a series of studies on the role of energy metabolism on aging and the impact of caloric restriction on metabolism and oxidative stress on biomarkers of aging

  1. Heilbronn LK, de Jonge L, Frisard MI, DeLany JP, Larson-Meyer DE, Rood J, Nguyen T, Martin CK, Volaufova J, Most MM, Greenway FL, Smith SR, Deutsch WA, Williamson DA, Ravussin E. Effect of 6-month calorie restriction on biomarkers of longevity, metabolic adaptation, and oxidative stress in overweight individuals: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2006 Apr 5;295(13):1539-48. PubMed PMID: 16595757; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2692623.