Dr. Hursting is the Director and a Professor of Nutrition at the UNC Nutrition Research Institute in Kannapolis, NC. He is also Professor in the Department of Nutrition and the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. An international leader in the area of nutrition, obesity, metabolism and cancer, his lab focuses on the molecular and metabolic mechanisms underlying obesity-cancer associations, and the impact of obesity- energy balance modulation (eg, calorie restriction and exercise) or pharmacologic agents on cancer development, progression, and responses to chemotherapy. Primarily using genetically engineered mouse models of breast cancer (recently in parallel with several clinical trials), colon cancer and pancreatic cancer, Dr. Hursting has identified the IGF1/Akt/mTOR and NF-kB signaling pathways as key targets for breaking the obesity-cancer link. His publications establish causal links between obesity, cancer and several systemic factors (including IGF-1, insulin, leptin and IL-6) and components of their downstream signaling pathways (including mTOR and NF-kb).
Prior to joining the UNC faculty in 2014, Dr. Hursting was Professor and Chair of the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Texas (UT) at Austin, the McKean-Love Endowed Chair of Nutritional, Molecular and Cellular Sciences in the UT College of Natural Sciences, and Professor of Molecular Carcinogenesis at the UT-MD Anderson Cancer Center (2005-14). Dr. Hursting earned a BA in biology from Earlham College and a PhD in nutritional biochemistry and an MPH in nutritional epidemiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also completed postdoctoral training in molecular biology and cancer prevention as a Cancer Prevention Fellow at the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
Research Assistant, Hursting Lab - Chapel Hill
Numair is an undergraduate student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he is pursuing a BS in Biology with a minor in Philosophy, with hopes of earning a BSPH in Nutrition. He is a research assistant in Dr. Hursting’s lab at the Gillings School of Public Health and is passionate about cancer research. He hopes to attend medical school and pursue a career as a clinician.
Ximena Bustamante-Marin, PhD
Assistant Professor, Hursting Lab - Chapel Hill
Dr. Bustamante-Marin earned her PhD in Biological Sciences with mention in Physiology from Pontifical Catholic University of Chile. After completing a Research Scholar training at Duke University and a postdoctoral appointment in the Cystic fibrosis Department at UNC, Dr. Bustamante-Marin joined the Gillings School’s Department of Nutrition in July 2019 as a Research Assistant Professor. Her research focuses on comprehending the effects of obesity on the function of the primary cilium in breast cancer cells and the consequences of the enrichment of cilia on the tumor microenvironment, metabolic reprogramming, and metastatic potential. She is also investigating the impact of obesity on the composition of extracellular vesicles derived from mammary tumors, and how the content of extracellular vesicles can modify metabolic pathways. Understanding the effects of obesity on the function of the primary cilium and in the composition of extracellular vesicles could generate opportunities for early detection and clinical interventions during breast cancer development.
Graduate Research Assistant, Hursting and Voruganti Labs
Angela joined the NRI in August 2022 after graduating from Meredith College in Raleigh, NC, in May 2022 with a Master of Science in Nutrition. Her master’s degree focused on dietetics to become a future registered dietitian. Before completing her graduate studies, Angela gained 20 years of research experience in the pharmaceutical industry by managing first-in-class and first-in-human clinical trials, especially in immuno-oncology therapies. Angela is co-mentored at NRI by Dr. Hursting Dr. Voruganti where her focus is to expand nutrition research into human clinical trials and focus on identifying nutritional and genetic factors that can aid in early disease detection and using the mechanisms of metabolomics for adjuvant therapy in cancer treatment.
Michael Coleman, PhD
Assistant Professor of Nutrition-CH
Mike completed his PhD in Biochemistry and Cell Biology at the University College Cork in Ireland, where his work examined the role of growth factor signaling in mitochondrial homeostasis. He joined the Hursting lab for postdoctoral training in 2017 to explore systemic and cellular metabolic determinants of cancer therapy outcomes. He is now based in Chapel Hill, but fondly remembers the first half of his postdoctoral training at the NRI.
Doctoral Student, Hursting Lab-CH
Emily began working at UNC Chapel Hill in August 2019 as a doctoral student. She is studying the metabolic links between obesity and ferroptosis in breast cancer under the mentorship of Dr. Hursting. Prior to her time in Chapel Hill, Emily attended UC Berkeley where she graduated with a degree in Molecular Toxicology.
Elaine (Elle) Glenny, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Associate, Hursting Lab - Chapel Hill
Elle completed her PhD at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill under the supervision of Dr. Ian Carroll where she investigated the consequences of severe calorie restriction on intestinal stem cell function and potential interactions of the gut microbiota. To further delineate dietary regulation of intestinal epithelial cell function, Elle has remained at UNC-Chapel Hill where she is now working with Drs. Stephen Hursting and Jatin Roper (Duke University) to investigate adipose-derived inflammatory factors that may drive colorectal tumor progression in obesity.
Laboratory Technician, Hursting Lab - Chapel Hill
Alyssa joined the Hursting Lab in May 2018 working at the NRI as a summer undergraduate research assistant. She then joined the Hursting Lab in Chapel Hill where her work focuses on targeting metabolic pathways through pharmacological and chemotherapeutic interventions to improve triple-negative breast cancer therapy. She obtained both her BSPH in Nutrition in May 2020 and her MS in Nutrition in May 2021 from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. She is now working as a Research Technician in the Hursting Lab and hopes to attend medical school in the future.
Graduate Student, Hursting Lab-CH
Hannah received her Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Exercise from Virginia Tech in May 2018. She is currently a MPH-Nutrition student at Gillings and works in the Hursting Lab. Hannah is excited to research the impact of obesity and chronic disease on metabolism. In her free time, Hannah likes to spend time outside and bake desserts.
Evan Paules, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Associate, Hursting Lab
Evan Paules joined the NRI in August 2016 as a doctoral student under the mentorship of Dr. Zeisel. Following his graduation, Evan joined the lab of Dr. Hursting where he is now a postdoctoral researcher. Evan is currently investigating the determinants of heterogenic responses to dietary interventions in individuals. Evan attended Rider University where he graduated with a double major in Biochemistry and Behavioral Neuroscience. He was also a member of Rider University’s Division 1 swim team for all four years while he attended Rider.
Research Technician, Hursting Lab - NRI
Ariana joined the NRI in November 2021 as a research technician in the Hursting lab. She graduated from UNC Chapel Hill in 2021 with a BS in Biology and minors in Chemistry and Health and Society. She's excited to work as a research technician and gain lab experience. In her free time, Ariana enjoys playing video games and creating art.
Lab Manager, Hursting Lab - Chapel Hill
Research Assistant, Hursting Lab-CH
Ashlee is a medical student at UNC Chapel Hill School of Medicine and is pursuing a scholarly concentration in nutrition. She recently joined Dr. Hursting's lab to study obesity-cancer associations and how these translate to a clinical setting. In her free time, she enjoys cooking and creating recipes for her food blog, running, road biking, traveling to new places and cheering on the Tar Heels! Ashlee is from Lenoir, NC and completed her BS in Biology at UNC Chapel Hill.
On October 25, 97 participants joined us by Zoom for our Appetite for Life seminar on Nutrition and Cancer. NRI Director, Stephen Hursting, PhD, MPH and Evan Paules, PhD, a postdoctoral research fellow in Hursting’s lab, presented their research on triple-negative...
Last week you met three of our current doctoral students and today we introduce you to three more. The UNC Nutrition Research Institute (NRI) is helping mold the scientific minds of tomorrow by offering unique learning and work experiences for graduate students in the...