40 Duke Medicine Circle, DUMC 3003, Durham NC 27710

Join one of our current studies:

About Us

Research in our laboratory focuses on the role of nutrition (particularly vitamins and minerals) in the prevention and management of chronic diseases in older adults. Previous studies have concerned trace elements and cardiovascular disease, calcium and osteoporosis, and renal synthesis of vitamin D as it relates to bone health.

Some of our newest work emphasizes the role of micronutrients as antioxidants and their interaction with the aging process. We are also working on various aspects of energy balance in older adults, ranging from failure to thrive in stroke patients with dysphagia to exercise and nutrition effects in overweight subjects who begin physical training. We have a number of clinical and epidemiological projects on-going, many of which include a strong emphasis on nutrition assessment techniques in middle-aged and older-adult participants.

Meet Our Team

Connie Bales
Connie W. Bales, PhD, RDN
Faculty Investigator
Professor of Medicine, Duke SOM
Associate Director for Education/Evaluation, Durham VAMC GRECC 



Kathryn Starr
Kathryn Starr, PhD, RDN
Faculty Investigator
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Duke SOM
Research Health Scientist, Durham VAMC



Alyssa King
Alyssa King, RD, LDN
Research Dietician, CRC


Jessica Wallis
Jessica Wallis, MPH, RD, LDN
Research Dietician


Thoma Tucker
Thoma Tucker
Clinical Research Specialist


Marshall Miller
Marshall Miller, PhD
Postdoctoral Associate


Current Research

Actively Recruiting

ROCCK! -- Reducing Obesity and Cartilege Compression in Knees for adults age 18-45 who are overweight (BMI 30-40) and have healthy knees

  • This is a randomized, controlled, clinical trial at Duke University comparing the effects of weight loss and weight maintenance on knee and cartilage health in adults with excess body weight. This study seeks to answer the following questions:
    • What is the relationship between body weight, physical activity, and cartilage health?
    • Can weight loss reverse or partially reverse cartilage damage?
    • Is there a specific amount of weight loss that provides the most benefit to cartilage structure and function?

BEACTIVE  - Blueberries, walking, and health for adults age 60+ with excess body weight (BMI 25-35) who exercise less than 150 minutes per week

  • This is a randomized, controlled, clinical trial at Duke University studying the effects of blueberry intake and exercise on cardiovascular, cognitive, and physical functioning in older adults. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effects of lyophilized blueberry powder on pulse wave velocity, blood pressure, cognition, and physical function in comparison to these outcomes in a placebo control group.

Contact Us

Phone: 919-660-7507


Mailing Address: DUMC 3003, Durham NC 27710

Fax number: 919-668-0453

Connect with us on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/DukeBalesStarrNutritionLab