Elizabeth J. Parks

Elizabeth Parks


Professor of Nutrition & Exercise Physiology

Division of Food, Nutrition & Exercise Sciences (FNES) - CAFNR //
Departments of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology, and Medicine - School of Medicine

Associate Director

Clinical Translational Research Unit

Research at a glance

Area(s) of Expertise

Research Summary

Dr. Parks studies blood fats in diabetes, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, liver inflammation in the fasting and fed states; Non-steady state kinetics in metabolism, effects of food intake and sensory effects on absorption of lipids, and the effects of diet on the development of obesity-related disorders.

Elizabeth Parks is a Professor of Medicine in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology and Department of Medicine, both in the School of Medicine at the University of Missouri. She also serves as Associate Director of the Clinical Translational Science Unit and as an investigator in the university’s NextGen Precision Health Initiative. Her research focuses on understanding how the food we eat is processed in the body to benefit health and how it can also contribute to the progression of diseases such as obesity, pre-diabetes, and diabetes. The major research contributions of the Parks Lab emanate from the development of novel techniques to measure the absorption and disposal of dietary fats, carbohydrates, and proteins in humans and in animal models. Over the past 24 years, Dr. Parks has developed methods using stable isotopes, mass spectrometry, and mathematical modeling to discover how the body switches metabolism from the fasting to fed state. Her laboratory’s seminal contributions have included understanding the fate of dietary sugars that can be made into fat in the liver significantly contributing to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). From a national service perspective, Dr. Parks has held leadership positions in the American Society for Nutrition, and she is currently President of The Obesity Society. She is a fellow of the AHA and the Obesity Society and has contributed significantly to ADA and NIH grant review panels. Her current research is discovering the mechanisms by which weight loss and exercise can lead to the remission of NASH and diabetes.

Courses taught

  • Medical student teaching, graduate student course on lipids.