T. Alp Ikizler
T. Alp Ikizler, M.D., is Catherine McLaughlin Hakim Professor of Medicine at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine (VUSM) in Nashville, Tennessee. He is the Director of Clinical Research in Nephrology and also directs the Master of Science in Clinical Investigation Program at VUSM. The primary research interest of Dr. Ikizler is nutritional and metabolic aspects of kidney disease with a special interest in inflammation and oxidative stress. Along these lines, his research group aims to examine the factors that lead to adverse clinical outcomes in patients with acute and chronic kidney disease, a population with high prevalence of wasting syndrome and at significantly increased hospitalization and death risk with a specific emphasis on nutritional and metabolic aspects. Dr. Ikizler’s earlier studies have focused on how dialysis procedure affects protein metabolism, i.e stimulation of protein degradation and anabolism in muscle and other tissues. Along these lines, they demonstrated that dialysis-stimulated proteolysis is due in part to inflammation and that the defects in protein breakdown can be blunted by giving parenteral or oral nutrition with or without exercise. Dr. Ikizler is also interested in investigating the role of insulin resistance and deprivation in muscle wasting in dialysis patients and showed the critical importance of insulin resistance as a modifiable target. Dr. Ikizler’s laboratory uses a number of different approaches to provide insight to the relevant research questions. These include, but are not limited to, labeled isotope techniques to assess protein, amino acid, and carbohydrate metabolism (leucine, phenylalanine, and glucose) as well as body composition using deuterium oxide, sodium bromide, and labeled urea along with multifrequency bioelectrical impedance analysis, dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, and air-displacement plethysmography. His laboratory also developed a dual-clamp (hyperinsulinemic euglycemic and euamino acidemic) technique to assess the adverse affects of insulin resistance on carbohydrate and protein metabolism. His group also studies the mechanisms through which metabolic derangements develop in earlier stages of chronic kidney disease and the interplay between progressive loss of kidney function, the associated metabolic abnormalities, and increased cardiovascular risk profile in this patient population. Through numerous collaborations with other prominent investigators, they were able to show the inter-relationships between oxidative stress, inflammation, and endothelial dysfunction in patients with chronic kidney disease. These collaborations have led to ongoing studies testing the effects of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory therapies as well as lifestyle modification interventions on oxidative stress, inflammation, and endothelium dependent vascular function in patients with kidney disease.