Bruce A. Watkins, Ph.D.

 Bruce A. Watkins, Ph.D.


  • Research Nutritionist
  • Department of Nutrition



  • B.S., Biological Sciences, Colorado State University
  • M.S., Nutrition and Bacteriology, Colorado State University
  • Ph.D., Nutrition and Physiological Chemistry, 1985, University of California, Davis

Research Interests

Dr. Watkins is a Purdue University Emeritus Professor of Nutrition and Food Sciences. He is an adjunct Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at Indiana University School of Medicine. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Nutrition Research and currently a scientist and educator member of the University of Connecticut Health Center, Center on Aging, UConn AgingNet.

Primary - Energy balance, obesity & endocannabinoid signaling: The research aim is to understand the role of endocannabinoid (EC) signaling in 1) systemic energy metabolism, and 2) glucose use and insulin sensitivity in muscle. In these investigations we are interested in how dysregulation of EC signaling influences obesity and insulin resistance and the role that dietary lipids play in EC signaling. Secondary - Dietary omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and kidney disease: The purpose of this research is to explain and understand the health risks associated with low intakes of DHA and EPA on cardiovascular disease in hemodialysis patients. His role is to provide analytical support for lipids and nutrition expertise for the PI, Dr. Allon Friedman. Recently, his role has expanded to leading studies on metabolomics of hemodialysis patients. Past - Bone/musculoskeletal biology: The first goal was to understand the role of long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids on muscle and bone metabolism for optimal nutrition. The research was directed at characterizing how specific fatty acids and phytochemicals impact osteoblast function and bone modeling/remodeling and muscle development. These experiments investigated the actions of nutrients on genes (COX, osteocalcin, alkaline phosphatase, BMP) in bone cell cultures and various animal models. The second goal was a paradigm that examined how long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids altered genes of osteoblast differentiation (Cbfa1) associated with bone formation and osteoclastogenesis (osteoprotegrin OPG/OPGL).

Selected Publications