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Department of Behavioral Health & Nutrition




Faculty & Staff


Giving Opportunities


Broadly, our research group seeks to understand the role of nutrition in cardiovascular disease.  Cardiovascular diseases account for more deaths in the U.S. than any other chronic disease.  The American Heart Association (AHA) has identified 7 health metrics important to achieving ideal “cardiovascular health” and a healthy dietary pattern is among those.  Specifically, the AHA lists a higher sodium intake and lower potassium intake as dietary risk factors for CVD.   In particular, our interest lies in studying the effect of dietary sodium and potassium intake on vascular function.

Research has shown that a diet high in sodium and low in potassium increases an individuals’ risk for hypertension.  Additionally, research has shown that high dietary sodium can cause vascular dysfunction independent of changes in blood pressure suggesting that damage to the endothelium precedes changes in blood pressure.  This damage can lead to atherosclerosis.  While potassium’s blood pressure lowering effect is known, it is unclear what role potassium may play on the vasculature.  Therefore, we are examining the interaction between these two nutrients.


Vascular Effects of Dietary Potassium in Humans
We will utilize a controlled dietary approach to study the effect of altering sodium and potassium intake on vascular function in healthy, salt-resistant adults.  We use brachial artery flow-mediated dilation to assess conduit artery function and cutaneous vasodilation in response to local heating to assess microvascular function.

The Role of Dietary Counseling on Salt consumption and Vascular Function
The goal of this pilot project is to determine if dietary counseling aimed at lowering habitual sodium intake to recommended guidelines of 100 mmol/day in high salt consumers can improve vascular function.

Vascular Effects of Dietary Salt in Humans with Salt-Resistant BP
In collaboration with Dr. Bill Farquhar and Dr. Dave Edwards, we are exploring the effects of dietary salt on vascular function. Our hypothesis is that excess dietary salt adversely affects vascular function, independent of blood pressure.

The Role of Sodium and Exercise on Vascular Function
The goal of this project is to determine whether exercise can protect the vasculature from the effects of a high sodium diet utilizing a rodent model. 

The Role of Intermittent PTH on the Aging Vasculature
In collaboration with Dr. Rhonda Prisby and her lab group, we are investigating the role of 15 days of PTH treatment on the vasculature in young and old rodents.

Delaware INBRE IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence NIH-NCRR
(Subproject PI: Lennon-Edwards)

R01 HL104106 (PIs: Farquhar/Edwards; Co-I: Lennon-Edwards)


PI: Shannon Lennon-Edwards, PhD, RD
Assistant Professor  

John Guers, MS
Doctoral student, Applied Physiology Program  

Beth Nachman, BS
Master’s student, Human Nutrition Program  

Karen Solecki, BS, RD
Master’s student, Human Nutrition Program  

Gelan Shamloul
Undergraduate student, INBRE Summer Scholar  

Navika Gangrade
Undergraduate Research Summer Fellowship Recipient  


Kuczmarski, J.M., C.R. Martens, J. Kim, S.L. Lennon-Edwards, and D.G. Edwards.  Cardiac function is preserved following 4 weeks of voluntary wheel running in a rodent model of chronic kidney disease. J Appl Physiol (In press)

Kirkman, D.L., D.G. Edwards, and S. Lennon-Edwards.  Exercise as an adjunct therapy in chronic kidney disease. (In press for fall quarterly issue of Renal Nutrition Forum)

Lennon-Edwards S., M. Ramick, E.L. Matthews, M. Brian, W.B. Farquhar, and D.G. Edwards.  Endothelium-dependent dilation is lower in salt-resistant males than females on a high sodium diet. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2014 May 24 (Epub).

Martens, C.R., J.M. Kuczmarski, J. Kim, M. Harris, S. Lennon-Edwards, and D.G. Edwards.  Voluntary wheel running augments aortic L-arginine transport and endothelial function in rats with chronic kidney disease. Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2014 Jun 25. pii: ajprenal.00014.2014. [Epub ahead of print]

Lennon-Edwards S., Allman B., Schellhardt T., Ferreria C., W.B. Farquhar, and D.G. Edwards. Lower potassium intake is associated with increased wave reflection in young healthy adults. Nutr J. 2014 Apr 28;13(1)39.

Martens, C.R., J.M. Kuczmarski, S. Lennon-Edwards, and D.G. Edwards.  Impaired L-arginine uptake but not arginase contributes to endothelial dysfunction in rats with chronic kidney disease.  J Cardiovasc Pharmacol. 2014 Jan;63(1);40-8.

Kuczmarski J.M., C.R. Martens, S. Lennon-Edwards, and D.G. Edwards.   Cardiac function and tolerance to Ischemia-Reperfusion Injury in chronic kidney disease. Nephrol Dial Transplant 2014 Aug;29(8):1514-24.

Lennon-Edwards, S. and W.B. Farquhar.  'Cold as ice', why do old coronary arteries pay the price? J Physiol. 2013 Jun 1;591(Pt 11):2775-6.

DuPont, J.J., Greaney, J. L., M.M. Wenner, S. Lennon-Edwards, P.W. Sanders, W.B. Farquhar, and D.G. Edwards.  Dietary sodium loading impairs endothelium-dependent dilation in salt-resistant humans. J Hypertens. 2013 Mar;31(3):530-6.

Greaney, J.L , J.J. DuPont, S. Lennon-Edwards, P.W. Sanders, D.G. Edwards, and W.B. Farquhar.  Acute dietary sodium loading impairs cutaneous microvascular function independent of blood pressure in humans: role of oxidative stress. J Physiol. 2012 Nov 1;590(Pt 21):5519-28.

Dirks-Naylor AJ, and S. Lennon-Edwards. The effects of Vitamin D on skeletal muscle function and cellular signaling.  J Steroid Biochem. 125(3-5):159-68, 2011.

Dirks-Naylor AJ, and S. Lennon-Edwards.  Cellular and molecular mechanisms of apoptosis in age-related muscle atrophy.  Current Aging Science. 4(3): 269-278, 2011.

Lancel, S., Q. Fuzhong, S. L. Lennon, J.  Zhang, X.Y. Tong, J. Kang, G.W. Dorn, D.A.  Siwik, R.A Cohen and W.S. Colucci.  Oxidative Post-translational modifications mediate decreased SERCA activity and myocyte dysfunction in G(alpha)q-overexpressing mice.  Circ Res. 2010 Jul 23;107(2):228-32.

Fuzhong, Q.,S. Lennon-Edwards,S. Lancel,A. Biolo,D.A. Siwik,D.R. Pimentel,G.W. Dorn II,Y.J. Kang, and W.S. Colucci.  Cardiac-specific Overexpression of Catalase Identifies Hydrogen Peroxide-dependent and Independent-phases of Myocardial Remodeling, and Prevents the Progression to Overt Heart Failure in GDescription: {alpha}q-overexpressing Transgenic Mice. Circ Heart Fail. 2010 Mar;3(2):306-13.

Manuscripts in Review/Revision

Lennon-Edwards S., T. Schellhardt, and J. M. Kuczmarski. Omega-3 Supplementation augments antioxidant defense in aging hearts in absence of changes in inflammation. (In review Physiological Research)

Kirkman, D.L., S. Lennon-Edwards, and D.G. Edwards.  Exercise for Chronic Kidney Disease.  (In review Journal of Renal Nutrition)

Matthews, E.L., M.S. Brian, M.G. Ramick, S.L. Lennon-Edwards, D.G. Edwards, and W.B. Farquhar.  High Dietary Sodium reduces flow mediated dilation in humans with salt sensitive and salt resistant blood pressure.   (In revision with American Journal of Hypertension)

  • College of Health Sciences  •  Department of Behavioral Health & Nutrition  •  26 Carpenter Sports Building 
    Newark, DE 19716 •   Phone: 302-831-2079   •  Fax: 302-831-4261   •  © 2014
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