Energy Metabolism Core



The mission of this core is to perform reliable and reproducible measurements of energy expenditure and substrate oxidation in humans using indirect calorimetry.


The  Energy Metabolism Core daily operations are overseen by Crystal Traylor,  N.P., whereas Drs. Eric Ravussin and Leanne Redman provide scientific  oversight of all assessments, instrumentation, and measurement quality  control. 

The core utilizes indirect calorimetry to measure energy  expenditure. We have 13 portable bedside metabolic carts (Deltatrac IITM and MAX-II) in service, which allow for measurements of  energy expenditure and substrate oxidation under resting conditions. Using  these devices, we can also measure acute and chronic changes in energy  metabolism in response to thermogenic compounds and ambient temperature,  as well as the response to various dietary and exercise treatments. 

Pennington  Biomedical currently has two whole-room calorimeters, or metabolic  chambers. The room calorimeters are used to assess energy expenditure over  24 hours, as well as components of energy expenditure such as sleeping  metabolic rate, spontaneous physical activity, and the thermic response to  meals. The customized software platform outputs minute-by-minute data also  allowing for the assessment of acute effects. Each chamber has an  approximate volume of 27,000 L and was designed to provide a pleasant  ambiance for study participants. 

Within the next year, the Energy  Metabolism Core will undergo substantial renovations. We will acquire new  space to house a metabolic rate suite and two additional room  calorimeters, one with a similar size of 27,000 L and one smaller (10,000  L) with the capacity to modify ambient temperature, which will allow for environmental  studies. This work will be conducted mostly by Mr. Tyler Clement, our Biomedical  Engineer. 

Additionally, the core provides measurement of core body  temperature, heart rate variability, and skin temperature by infrared imaging.  Approximately 750 metabolic cart measurements and 150 metabolic chamber  measurements are performed annually by the Energy Metabolism Core. 

This core is supported by grant from  National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and  industry sponsors.