Science Spotlight: Brad Dieter


"If we want to reverse the obesity/diabetes/chronic disease pandemic and prevent the impending financial crises from these, we have to change the way our world and our society is built"

- Brad Dieter


Brad researches diabetes, publishes science-based articles on Science Driven Nutrition, and co-owns Eat to Perform. He’s interested in diets, health, supplements, fitness, exercise performance, as well as other topics. Check out his articles, research, and podcast appearances for more information. He has previously contributed to and reviewed articles for SCI-FIT.


What are the most important things our readers should know about you?

Wow. Way to come out of the gate swinging with a really hard question. I wish I could wax and wane really eloquently about what is most important about me but I don’t really know how to quantify that very well so I will tell the readers what is important to me and why.

My wife and my family are the most important things to me. They are not only my biggest support system but they are easily the best humans I know.

My research is important to me for several reasons: 1) I truly believe my skills and talents in research can help make the world a better place and at the end of my career I will have helped change a few lives, 2) it gives me a bigger purpose; knowing that my daily work might someday help a lot of people keeps me focused when the work gets really hard (that is most days), 3) it is a difficult career and I find that struggling well is how I personally define success so every day is an opportunity to succeed in that regard.

My work in industry is important to me because it connects science to people. There is currently this zeitgeist of “anti-industry” which I find to be very unhelpful in making a difference. While academia and science are largely responsible for finding out new things, translating those findings into things that are meaningful for humanity (new therapies, new technology, etc.) is driven almost solely by industry. My work in industry helps me deliver my academic work and discoveries into the hands of people who need it.

Coffee is important to me. No explanation needed 😉

When did you start Science Driven Nutrition and what is the site’s primary purpose?

I started Science Driven Nutrition in the fall of 2015 and the primary goal has been to help educate people interested in science, nutrition, physiology, biology, and medicine. I have a unique background in that my training truly bridges the translational spectrum: from very basic molecular biology, animal studies, human studies, biostatistics and epidemiology, and into the applied world working with people. I felt that my training and unique perspective, when combined with my passion for education and dissemination of information, could help reach a lot of people.

What would you say are your best articles?

There is a saying amongst many of my colleagues, “You are only as good as your last at bat”. This is something I try to live by and always keep moving forward so I would have to say that my best article is my most recent one, whichever that turns out to be when you (the reader) are reading this.

I would say that my favorite articles are probably the following:

I think these are my favorite because they have been the most fun to write and also really help the reader learn how to think about things, not just a regurgitation of a lot of data (although there is a lot of data in those articles).

What do you want to achieve with your work in the future?

My main goals are fairly simple:

  1. I want to leave the world a much better place than I found it
  2. I want to reach and impact the lives of as many people as I can in a positive way

As you can probably tell I have a very active and rather intense research and industry profile and they are all geared toward chronic, lifestyle diseases. I am currently attacking these problems from a basic, scientific perspective and an applied, clinical perspective where I work directly with people. These two aspects of my work let me chase those two main goals I have.

What are the top reasons people should read your site?

There is one main reason why people should read my site: the information in there will help you find answers to some of the biggest health/fitness questions there are out there. In fact, I don’t think there are many topics I haven’t addressed in some way. I can guarantee you if you spend a few solid hours reading some of the article on there you will be better equipped to tackle your own health and fitness goals.

There are probably a lot of little reasons people should also read my site, like: I have some solid jokes in there, the select infographics I have are super helpful and thanks to the fabulous Lyndsey Nuckols (seriously, she is awesome) they are pretty too, most “read times” are listed in quantifiable life units (e.g. cups of coffee), and you will get a pretty good insight into who I am and how I think.

Which projects are you currently working on (research and other works)?

These are my current lab projects:

SAA as DKD biomarker

Much of the focus of my laboratory work over the past 3 years has been focused on understanding the role of serum amyloid A (SAA) in diabetic kidney disease and how it may be used as a biomarker. We are currently pursuing it as a prognostic, predictive, and actionable biomarker. We have conducted studies examining blood, urine, transcriptomic profiles, clinical outcomes and disease morphology to attempt to develop a full understanding of how this protein might be a signature of a specific phenotype in the disease. We have 2 publications out and will have another one under review within months. Much of this work has lived at the cross-section of biostatistics, clinical understanding of disease progression, and the fundamental biology of the protein. It has been a very challenging and rewarding project to work on as I have had to use the full spectrum of my training in this project.

SAA as therapeutic target

In parallel with our work on SAA as a biomarker we are actively pursuing it as a therapeutic target. We have conducted several pre-clinical studies demonstrating that SAA is upregulated in the disease, that it induces an inflammatory phenotype, and that it directly precipitates the disease. We are currently in the midst of submitting two papers from animal models of diabetic kidney disease and will be pursuing an industry partnership on pre-clinical studies with a therapeutic agent that directly targets the protein.

Blood pressure in SPRINT

This project may be of specific interest to the readers given the recent release of the new blood pressure guidelines by the American Heart Association. As my work is currently geared toward the kidney we recently participated in the NEJM SPRINT data analysis challenge and examined how intensive blood pressure management and the risk of acute kidney injury impacts cardiovascular events. The full scope of our work is going to be submitted for publication in late 2017.

eGFR trajectories in ACCORD

On the heels of the SPRINT data analysis work I conducted in conjunction with my colleagues we decided to also pursue similar work examining how kidney function is impacted by intensive glucose control and if this decline in kidney function explains the excess cardiovascular mortality observed in the original ACCORD trial.

H3K27Me3 mediates metabolic memory associated inflammation

Diabetic kidney disease can be viewed as an inflammatory disease. Additionally, it has been documented that periodic episodes of poor gylcemic control convey risk that extend beyond the initial exposure, especially in the kidney. However, the molecular mechanisms by which this occurs is not well known. I am currently leading a project that is examining how periods of hyperglycemia lead to changes in persistent chromatin modifications and chromatin structures that cause a perpetual inflammatory response long after the initial period of hyperglycemia.

GLP-1 receptor agonists ameliorate DKD via glucose independent anti-inflammatory mechanisms

The incretin class glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist drugs (e.g. exenatide, dulaglutide, and liraglutide) are currently being used as anti-hyperglycemic drugs in patients with type 2 diabetes as they increase insulin response, decrease glucagon and hepatic glucose output, and can actually reduce appetite and lead to modest weight loss. In some recent trials, these GLP-1 receptor agonists have been shown to prevent progression of kidney disease in people with diabetic kidney disease. Interestingly, these effects appear to be independent of glucose control. We are currently starting a project and submitting a grant in early 2018 to study the role of GLP-1 receptor agonists in diabetic kidney disease via its anti-inflammatory properties.

These are my current industry Projects:

Machine learning on real world nutrition, physical activity, and lifestyle data to optimize fat loss

In addition to the day to day work with people, one of the biggest aspects of my work with Eat to Perform is to better understand human behavior and how people can lose weight in a better, more effective manner using big data. We have developed our own software to collect a wide range of physiological and behavioral data on thousands of people and are beginning to employ machine learning (supervised and unsupervised) to better understand how specific variables impact people’s weight loss journey. Our ultimate goal is to find the most effective way to help people achieve optimal body composition.

Random Things:

Of Engines and Things

I am one of those people who always likes to pick up skills about things I have no experience in. My knowledge of combustion engines is approximately zero and I decided the best way to learn about them was to buy an old motorcycle and rebuild one. So in my rare free time I am currently stripping down and completely rebuilding a 1972 Honda CB 360 motorcycle. Initial state when I received it: giant rust bucket with a plastic storage bin full of parts. Current State: carburetors rebuilt, gas tank restored, engine degreased and assembled; everything else in complete disarray. Estimated completion date: sometime before the sun explodes (unless my wife throws it all away before then). There is an excellent story of how I got it home.

Which area of research do you think needs more attention?

I think the single biggest area that needs more attention is our “built environment” and our culture. If we want to reverse the obesity/diabetes/chronic disease pandemic and prevent the impending financial crises from these (seriously, look at the financial projections) we have to change the way our world and our society is built (I mean that in the literal sense of our physical layout and also in sense that the ideologies and value structures our society is built on).

Do you want to give any shoutouts?

I need to shout out more people than I can list. My career has been shaped by more people than I can even recall at this point and any list I generate would omit someone critical so I will just shout out anyone who has ever helped me in any way. Even those people who think their connections haven’t done much, they have probably helped me more than they have any idea.

Brad’s articles

Brad’s research

Podcast Appearances

Awards and Scholarships

  • Inaugural Providence Foundation Research Fellow, Providence Foundation
  • Graduate Assistantship, Department of Movement Sciences, University of Idaho
  • Outstanding Master’s Research Award, Northwest American College of Sports Medicine Conference
  • Translational Research Scholars Program, University of Washington, Institute for Translational Health Sciences

Peer Reviewer

Brad is a peer reviewer in the following scientific journals:


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