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Karen Sweazea

Associate Professor, School of Nutrition and Health Promotion

Info

 (480) 965-6025
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Education

  • 2005, PhD, Physiological Sciences, University of Arizona
  • 2005-2008, Postdoc, Vascular Physiology, University of New Mexico

Biography

Karen Sweazea is a physiologist who specializes in diabetes and cardiovascular disease. She received her PhD in Physiological Sciences from the University of Arizona where her research focused on understanding glucose homeostasis and natural insulin resistance in birds. Her postdoctoral research was designed to explore how poor dietary habits promote the development of cardiovascular diseases.

Dr. Sweazea's current research seeks to explore potentially protective mechanisms existing in mammalian and non-mammalian organisms against complications that can arise with being overweight or having high blood sugar levels. One of the main research foci is on understanding the reasons behind the evolution of naturally high blood sugar concentrations in birds in addition to exploring the impact of urbanization and poor dietary choices on avian health. Learning how certain animals thrive under conditions that would result in pathologies for other species may help improve the treatment of diabetes. A second research focus is on characterizing the mechanisms by which high caloric intake leads to cardiovascular disease and diabetes in mammalian and non-mammalian organisms. This particular research focus also includes the exploration of potential antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of functional foods in an effort to improve diet and reduce risk factors for cardiovascular disease in humans subjects. 

Research Interests

The central focus of my research is to explore potentially protective mechanisms existing in mammalian and non-mammalian organisms against complications that can arise in diseases associated with being overweight or having high blood sugar levels.

Research Publications

Sweazea K, Johnston C, Knurick J, Bliss C. (2016) Plant-based nutraceutical increases plasma catalase activity in healthy participants: A small double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, proof of concept trial. Journal of Dietary Supplements. [In press] 1-14.

Jarrett C, Ahmed Z, Faust JJ, Sweazea KL. (2016) High glucose impairs acetylcholine-mediated vasodilation in isolated arteries from mourning doves (Z. macroura). Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology. 201A: 141-145.  

Simperova A, Al-Nakkash L, Faust JJ, Sweazea KL. (2016) Genistein supplementation has varied effects in the vasculature of female obese ob/ob mice. Nutrition Research. 36(8): 789-797.

Sweazea KL, Simperova A, Juan T, Gadau A, Brant S, Deviche P, Jarrett C. (2015) Pathophysiological responses to a schistosome infection in a wild population of mourning doves (Zenaida macroura). Zoology. 118(6): 386-393.

Crinigan C, Calhoun M, Sweazea KL. (2015) Short-term high fat intake does not significantly alter markers of renal function of inflammation in young male Sprague-Dawley rats. Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism. 2015: Article ID 157520.

Research Activity