Skip to Main Content

The University of Tennessee

UT Obesity Research Center

Frequently Used Tools:

Home » Faculty » Dr. Nishan S. Kalupahana

Nishan S. Kalupahana

Department of Physiology
Faculty of Medicine
University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka


Postdoc: Immunology; St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, TN, USA
Ph.D. Nutritional Sciences; University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, USA
M.Phil. (Master of Philosophy) Human Physiology; University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
M.B.B.S. (Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery); University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka

Research Area:

Molecular Endocrinology, adipose tissue biology, metabolic syndrome, Type-2 diabetes, Renin-angiotensin system, omega-3 fatty acids, adipokines, T lymphocytes, Immunology, Nutrition, Exercise Physiology,  lifestyle modification for weight management

Research Description:

Research activities are focused on identifying mechanisms responsible for obesity-induced metabolic derangements with a view of developing preventive and treatment strategies for Type-2 diabetes mellitus. Obesity leads to a chronic low-grade inflammation in the adipose tissue, which is in part responsible for the development of whole-body insulin resistance. However, the exact trigger of this inflammatory process is hitherto unknown. The major focus of our research program is to uncover these mechanisms. Research areas include: T lymphocytes and the onset of adipose tissue inflammation and systemic insulin resistance; adipose tissue renin-angiotensin system (RAS) in the pathogenesis of insulin resistance; and mechanisms by which fatty acids modulate adipose tissue function. We employ in vivo as well as in vitro systems, with a spectrum of cellular and molecular biology techniques coupled with studies of whole-animal physiology to address important questions in the above areas of research.

Selected Publications:

1. Kalupahana NS, Moustaid-Moussa N and Claycombe K. Immunity as a link between obesity and insulin resistance. Molecular Aspects of Medicine, 2012 Feb;33(1):26-34. 

2. Kalupahana NS, Moustaid-Moussa N. The renin-angiotensin system: a link between obesity, inflammation and insulin resistance. Obesity Reviews, 2012 Feb;13(2):136-49.

3. Kalupahana NS, Massiera F, Quignard-Boulange A, Ailhaud G, Voy BH, Wasserman DH and Moustaid-Moussa N. Overproduction of angiotensinogen from adipose tissue induces adipose tissue inflammation, glucose intolerance and insulin resistance. Obesity (Silver Spring), 2012 Jan;20(1):48-56.

4.  Kalupahana NS, Claycombe K, Newman SJ, Stewart T, Siriwardhana N, Matthan N, Lichtenstein A and Moustaid-Moussa N. Eicosapentaenoic acid prevents and reverses insulin resistance in high-fat diet-induced obese mice via modulation of adipose tissue inflammation.    Journal of Nutrition 2010; 140(11):1915-22

5. Kalupahana NS, Voy BH, Saxton A and Moustaid-Moussa N. Energy-restricted high-fat diets only partially improve markers of systemic and adipose tissue inflammation. Obesity (Silver Spring) 2011; 19(2):245-54

6. Kalupahana NS, Claycombe K and Moustaid-Moussa N. Omega-3 fatty acids alleviate adipose tissue inflammation and insulin resistance: mechanistic insights. Advances in Nutrition 2011; 2: 304-316

7. Kalupahana NS, Moustaid-Moussa N, Voy BH, Kim JH, Bassett D, Bray MS, Lightfoot TJ. The Regulation of Physical Activity by Genetic Mechanisms: Is There a Drive to be Active? In: Genetic and Molecular Aspects of Sports Performance. Edited by Bouchard C, Hoffman E: Wiley-Blackwell; 2011: 283-293

8. Siriwardhana N, Kalupahana NS, Fletcher S, Xin W, Claycombe KJ, Quignard-Boulange A, Zhao L, Saxton AM, Moustaid-Moussa N. n-3 and n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids differentially regulate adipose angiotensinogen and other inflammatory adipokines in part via NF-κB-dependent mechanisms. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 2012 Apr 3. [Epub ahead of print] 

9. Shi LZ, Kalupahana NS, Neale G and Chi H. The transcriptional regulator Gfi1 maintains the cell fate of double-positive thymocytes and differentially controls the development of natural Treg and invariant NKT cells. Immunity, under review, 2012

10. Kalupahana NS and Moustaid-Moussa N. Role of adipose tissue renin-angiotensin system in the pathogenesis of metabolic syndrome: a review of molecular mechanisms. Invited review submitted to Critical Reviews in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Dr. Nishan S. Kalupahana

Contact Information:

Department of Physiology
Faculty of Medicine, University of Peradeniya
Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
Phone: +94-81-2215133

Complete Bio