Nikhil Dhurandhar, Ph.D.

John Henry Hernandez Endowed Professor in Health Promotion

Infection and Obesity
(225) 763-2741
(225) 763-3030
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PhD: 1992. Biochemistry, University of Bombay, Bombay, INDIA
MS: 1988. Food & Nutrition, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND, USA

Dr. Nikhil V. Dhurandhar is an editor-special issues of the International Journal of Obesity and on the editorial boards of the Korean Journal of Obesity, Journal of Obesity and Metabolic Research, and “The Open Obesity Journal”.

He is serving as President elect of The Obesity Society and is in line to serve as president in 2014-2015.


Dr. Dhurandhar et al were the first to identify obesity promoting effects of an avian adenovirus (SMAM-1) and a human adenovirus (Ad36). SMAM-1 and Ad36 cause obesity in animal models and show association with human obesity, and coined the term “Infectobesity – obesity of infectious origin”. Subsequently, other researchers have identified additional adenoviruses that induce obesity and have also confirmed the adipogenic effects of Ad36. In summary, he believes that simple explanations for causes of obesity are inadequate and novel approaches are required for its effective treatment and prevention. Obesity of infectious origin is the current focus of Dhurandhar’s lab. Seven viruses have been reported to cause obesity in animal models by various research groups. We reported the first human virus, an adenovirus (Ad-36), which causes adiposity in chickens, rodents and non-human primates and shows association with human obesity. His in-vivo and in-vitro data show that Ad-36 increases adiposity, lowers serum lipids, increases insulin sensitivity and preadipocyte differentiation.

Treatment of obesity is his other major research interest. Considering the limited success of conventional weight loss approaches in long term maintenance, he believes that additional and novel strategies are required to enhance long term weight loss and maintenance. To this effect, his research efforts have included anti-obesity drug trials, various meal replacement strategies and use of eggs as supplement to weight loss efforts.

The lab is currently investigating the molecular mechanism involved in adiposity promoting effect of Ad-36. Several genes of adipocyte differentiation pathway are up-regulated by Ad-36 and E4 orf1 is a viral gene contributing to the effect. We are determining the interaction of the viral and cellular genes involved in the process.

Our long-term goal is to discover treatment and / or prevention of Ad-36-induced adiposity. Furthermore, determining the role of other infectious agents in etiology of obesity is an important area of investigation.


Lin WY, Dubuisson O, Rubicz R, Liu N, Allison DB, Curran JE, Comuzzie AG, Blangero J, Leach CT, Göring H, and Dhurandhar NV. Response to Yamada et al. Long-Term
Changes in Adiposity and Glycemic Control Are Associated With Past Adenovirus Infection. Diabetes Care 2013 ; 36(3):701-7.

Schoeller DA; Thomas D; Archer E; Heymsfield SB; Blair SN; Goran MJ; Hill JO; Atkinson RL; Corkey BE; Foreyt JP; Dhurandhar NV; Hall KD; Kral JG; Hansen BC;
Heitmann BL; Ravussin E; Allison DB. Self-Report-Based Estimates of Energy Intake Offer an Inadequate Basis for Scientific Conclusions (Letter). Am J Clin Nutrition. 2013

Dhurandhar NV. When common sense does not make sense. Int J Obesity. Editorial. 2012, Oct;36(10):13.

Dhurandhar NV. Insulin sparing action of Adenovirus 36 and it's E4orf1 protein: A template for developing novel anti-diabetic agents. Journal of Diabetes and its
Complications. 2013, 27(2):191-9.

Krishnapuram R, Kirk-Ballard H. Dhurandhar EJ, Dubuisson O, Messier V, Rabasa-Lhoret R, Hegde V, Aggarwal A, and Dhurandhar NV. Insulin Receptor-independent Up-regulation of Cellular Glucose Uptake. Int J Obesity 2012 Feb 7. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2012.6

Dhurandhar NV. A framework for identifying infections that contribute to human Obesity. Lancet Infectious Diseases – 2011; 11(12): 963-69.

McAllister EJ, Dhurandhar NV, Keith SW, Aronne LJ, Barger J, Baskin M, Benca RM, Biggio J, Boggiano MM, Eisenmann JC, Elobeid M, Fontaine KR, Gluckman P, Hanlon EC, Katzmarzyk P, Pietrobelli A, Redden DT, Ruden DM, Wang C, Waterland RA, Wright SM, Allison DB. 10 Putative Contributors to the Obesity Epidemic. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition 2009 Nov;49(10):868-913.

Rathod MA, Rogers PM, Vangipuram SD, McAllister EJ, and Dhurandhar NV. Adipogenic Cascade can be Induced without Adipogenic Media by a Human Adenovirus. Obesity 2009;17(4):657-64.

Pasarica M, Loiler S, Dhurandhar NV. Acute effect of infection by adipogenic human adenovirus Ad36. Arch Virol. 2008 Oct 2. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 18830560.

Vander Wal JS, Gupta A, Khosla P, and Dhurandhar NV. Egg breakfast enhances weight loss. International Journal of Obesity 2008; Aug 5. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 18679412.

Rogers PM, Mashtalir N, Rathod MA, Dubuisson O, Wang Z, Dasuri K, Babin S, Gupta A, Markward N, Cefalu WT, Dhurandhar NV. Metabolically Favorable Remodeling of Human Adipose Tissue by Human Adenovirus Ad-36. Diabetes 2008; Jul 3. [Epub ahead of print] . PMID: 18599527.

Wang ZQ, Cefalu WT, Zhang XH, Yu Y, Qin J, Son L, Rogers PM, Mashtalir N, Bordelon J, Ye J and Dhurandhar NV. Human adenovirus type 36 enhances glucose uptake in diabetic and non-diabetic human skeletal muscle cells independent of insulin signaling. Diabetes 2008: Apr 16; [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 18420488.

Pasarica M, Mashtalir N, McAllister EJ, Kilroy GE, Koska J, Permana P, de Courten B, Yu M, Ravussin E, Gimble JM, Dhurandhar NV. Adipogenic Human Adenovirus Ad-36 Induces Commitment, Differentiation and Lipid Accumulation in Human Adipose-derived Stem Cells. Stem Cells. 2008 Jan 17; [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 18203674.

Rogers PM, Fusinski KA, Rathod MA, Loiler SA, Pasarica M , Shaw MK, Kilroy G, Sutton GM, McAllister EJ, Mashtalir N, Gimble JM, Holland TC, and Dhurandhar NV. Human adenovirus Ad-36 induces adipogenesis via its E4 orf-1 gene. International Journal of Obesity 2008; 32(3):397-406. PMID: 17984979.
Rice S, McAllister E and Dhurandhar NV. Fast food: Friendly? International Journal of Obesity 2007 31(6):884-6.

Vander Wal JS, McBurney, MI, Moellering N, Cho S, Marth J and Dhurandhar NV. Ready to-eat cereal products as meal replacements for weight loss. International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition 2007 Aug;58(5):331-40.

Vander Wal JS, McBurney, MI, Moellering N, Cho S, Marth J and Dhurandhar NV. Moderate carbohydrate low fat versus low carbohydrate high fat meal replacements for weight loss. International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition 2007 Jun;58(4):321-9.

Rathod M, Vangipuram SD, Krishnan B, Heydari AR, Holland TC and Dhurandhar NV. Viral mRNA Expression but not DNA Replication is Required for Lipogenic Effect of Human Adenovirus Ad-36 in Preadipocytes. International Journal of Obesity 2007 Jan;31(1):78-86.

Vangipuram SD, Yu M, Tian J, Stanhope KL, Pasarica M, Havel PJ, Heydari AR and Dhurandhar NV. Adipogenic Human Adenovirus-36 Reduces Leptin Expression and Secretion and Increases Glucose Uptake by Fat Cells. International Journal of Obesity 2007 Jan;31(1):87-96.

Pasarica M, Yu M, Yang HO, Mahida M, MohanKumar S, MohanKumar PS, Jen K-L C and Dhurandhar NV. Human Adenovirus Ad-36 Induces Adiposity, Up-regulates Genes of Adipocyte Differentiation, and Increases Insulin Sensitivity in Rats. Obesity 2006 Nov;14(11):1905-13.

Whigham LD, Dhurandhar NV, Rahko PS and Atkinson RL. Comparison of combination of drugs for treatment of obesity: Body weight and ecocardiographic status. Int J Obes (Lond). 2006 Dec 5; [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 17146452.

Vander Wal JS, Johnson KA, and Dhurandhar NV. Psychometric Properties of the State and Trait Food Cravings Questionnaires in Overweight and Obese Persons. Eating Behaviors, 2006 (in press).

Keith S, Redden D, Ruden D, Baskin M, Westfall A, Katzmarzyk P, Boggiano M, Hanlon E, Benca R, Pietrobelli A, Barger J, Fontaine K, Wang C, Aronne L, Wright S, Dhurandhar NV, Lijoi M, Grilo C, DeLuca M and Allison DB. Putative Contributors to the Secular Increase in Obesity: Exploring the Roads Less Traveled. International Journal of Obesity 2006, 30(11):1585-94.

Vander Wal JS, Waller SM, Klurfeld DM, Mc Burney MI, Cho S, Kapila M and Dhurandhar NV. Effect of a post-dinner snack and partial meal replacement program on weight loss. International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition. 2006 Feb-Mar;57(1-2):97-106.

Vander Wal JS, Marth JM, Khosla P, Jen KLC, and Dhurandhar NV. Short-term effect of eggs on satiety in overweight and obese subjects. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 2005; 24(6): 510-515.

Atkinson RL, Dhurandhar NV, Allison, DB, Bowen RL, Israel BA, Albu JB, and Augustus AS. Human adenovirus-36 is associated with increased body weight and paradoxical reduction of serum lipids International Journal of Obesity 2005 29:281-286.

Kapila M, Khosla P, and Dhurandhar NV. Novel Short-term effects of adenovirus Ad-36, on hamster lipoproteins. International Journal of Obesity 2004, 28:1521-1527.

Vangipuram SD, Sheele J, Atkinson RL, Holland TC, and Dhurandhar NV. A Human Adenovirus Enhances Preadipocyte Differentiation. Obesity Research 2004; 12:770-777.

Dhurandhar NV, Whigham LD, Abbott Dh, Schultz-Darken NJ, Israel BA, Bradley SM, Kemnitz JW, Allison DB and Atkinson RL. Human adenovirus Ad-36 promotes weight gain in male rhesus and marmoset monkeys. Journal of Nutrition 2002; 132:3155-3160.

Dhurandhar NV, Israel BA, Kolesar JM, Mayhew G, Cook ME and Atkinson RL. Transmissibility of adenovirus-induced adiposity in a chicken model. International Journal of Obesity 2001; 25:990-996.

Kolesar JM, Miller JA, Dhurandhar NV, Atkinson, RL. Direct quantification of AD-36 adenovirus DNA by capillary electrophoresis with laser-induced fluorescence. Journal of Chromatography B. 2000; 744:1-8.

Dhurandhar NV, Israel BA, Kolesar JM, Mayhew GF, Cook ME and Atkinson RL. Adiposity in animals due to a human virus. International Journal of Obesity 2000; 24(8) 989-996.

Dhurandhar NV, Blank RC, Schumacher D and Atkinson RL. Initial weight loss as a predictor of response to obesity drugs. International Journal of Obesity 1999; 23:1333-1336.

Atkinson RL, Blank RC, Schumacher D, Dhurandhar NV and Ritch DL. Long-term drug treatment of obesity in a private practice setting. Obesity Research 1997, 5:578-586.

Dhurandhar NV, Kulkarni PR, Ajinkya SM, Sherikar AA, Atkinson RL. Association of adenovirus infection with human obesity. Obesity Research. 1997, 5:464-469.

Spitz AF, Schumacher D, Blank RC, Dhurandhar NV and Atkinson RL. Safety and Metabolic Changes During Long Term Pharmacologic Treatment of Morbid Obesity: A Community Based Study. Endocrine Practice 1997; 3:269-275.

Dhurandhar NV, Kulkarni PR, Ajinkya SM and Sherikar AA. Effect of adenovirus infection on adiposity in chickens. Veterinary Microbiology, 1992; 31: 101-107.

Dhurandhar NV and Kulkarni PR. Prevalence of obesity in Bombay. International Journal of Obesity, 1992; 16: 367-375. ^ top