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New faculty profile: Brian Parks studies the interactions of genetics and diet

21277199925_640e692af0_kBrian Parks joined the faculty in the Department of Nutritional Sciences as an assistant professor in August.

Briefly describe your career path—up to this point.
I earned my B.S. degree in biology from the University of Virginia’s College at Wise. After college I worked for a year in the biotech industry and then decided to pursue graduate studies at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. During my graduate studies I researched inflammatory mechanisms that contribute to the development of heart disease. After graduate studies, I continued my scientific training and performed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, Los Angeles where I researched the genetic nature of dietary interactions and their contributions to obesity and diabetes.

What is the main focus of your research program?
My research is focused on understanding how genetics and diet interact together to promote metabolic diseases, such as obesity and diabetes. Currently I am focused on a novel candidate drug target I identified which improves common symptoms of obesity and diabetes. In addition to this work I have a strong interest in the development of systems biology approaches for discovering biological pathways and networks.

What drew you to UW-Madison?
The spectacular research environment along with a great family-friendly town make UW-Madison a great place to work and live. I am excited to get to know Madison and see what it has to offer.

What do you like to do outside of work?
Chase my one year old daughter around the house, cook with my wife, waterski and snowboard.

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