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Deborah Clegg, PhD

Contact Information

Deborah Clegg


Associate Dean for Research
College of Nursing and Health Professions

Deborah Clegg, PhD, has a unique background in both clinical and basic sciences and extensive experience as a grant reviewer for institutions such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the American Diabetes Association, the Veterans Administration and the Swiss Government Federal Foundation. She has been awarded numerous grants as either a principal investigator or co-principal investigator. Clegg was formerly a clinical dietitian, diabetes educator and director of master’s degree programs in nutrition at Emory University and University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. She has made substantial contributions to the scientific literature through her basic science where the over-arching goal of her research is to understand how nutrients and hormones influence disease prevalence.

Her basic science laboratory determined how sex hormones, estrogens in particular, impact food intake, body weight and energy homeostasis. She has authored or co-authored over 125 publications in high-impact journals including: The New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, Cell Metabolism and Diabetes. She was also the recent recipient of the 2019 Gill Award for Transformative Research in Neuroscience.

Her immediate goals include learning about the research and scholarship of faculty, establishing a strong infrastructure in CNHP including quality control procedures for our laboratories and boilerplate materials, as well as providing tailored assistance and mentoring of faculty in pursuit of funding for scholarship. Clegg will also be establishing her program of research in these initial months.

Academic Distinctions

  • 2014 Outstanding Teacher, Medical Student Class of 2017, UTSW
  • 2015 Outstanding Teacher, Medical Student Class of 2018, UTSW
  • 2016 Boyd L. O’Dell Distinguished Lecturer, University of Missouri
  • 2019 Gill Transformative Investigator Award for Outstanding Contributions to Cellular, Molecular and Systems Neuroscience, Indiana University

Professional Society

2012-Present: NIH Training Grants; 2014-Present: American Diabetes Association; 2016-Present: Veterans Administration Grants

Selected Publications

Palmer, B. F., Clegg, D. J. (2019). Cardiovascular Benefits of a Diet Enriched in Fruits and Vegetables. Am J Nephrol, 49(6), 435-437. doi: 10.1159/000500044. PMID: 30995660

Santos, R. S., Frank, A. P., Fátima, L. A., Palmer, B. F., Öz, O. K., Clegg, D. J. (2018). Activation of estrogen receptor alpha induces beiging of adipocytes. Molecular Metabolism, 18, 51-59. doi: 10.1016/j.molmet.2018.09.002. PMID: 30270132

Frank, A. P., de Souza Santos, R., Palmer, B. F., & Clegg, D. J. (2019). Determinants of body fat distribution in humans may provide insight about obesity-related health risks. Journal of lipid research, 60(10), 1710–1719.

Clegg, D. J., & Mauvais-Jarvis, F. (2018). An integrated view of sex differences in metabolic physiology and disease. Molecular metabolism, 15, 1–2.

Palmer, B. F., Clegg, D. J. (2020). A Universally Accepted Definition of Gender Will Positively Impact Societal Understanding, Acceptance and Appropriateness of Health Care. Mayo Clin Proc. May 19:S0025-6196(20)30089-6. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2020.01.031. Online ahead of print. PMID: 32448588

Palmer, B. F., Clegg, D. J. (2020). Salicylate Toxicity. N Engl J Med. Jun 25;382(26):2544-2555. doi: 10.1056/NEJMra2010852 PMID: 32579814

Grant participation:

2020-2024: NIH NCI-P30 Administrative Supplement. Subcontract Award to Drexel University: Building a Multi-Institutional Transdisciplinary Cancer and Aging Research Team-From Cells to Society (CART-C2S) (Co-PI’s: Lu-Yao, G., Chapman, A., DiMaria-Ghalili, R.A., Clegg, D., Sell, C., Yang, C., Lopez, A., Simone, N., Martinez-Outschoorn, O.) $49,821.56/year

2020-2025: Millennium Institute for the study of sex-based differences in disease; Millennium Science Initiative National Agency of Investigation and Development (ANID) Government of Chile (A Nieledge PI, DJ Clegg Co-PI) $87,000/year

2010-2022-NIH/NIDDK R15 Tracking # GRANT12888507: Neuregulin-1 in adipose expandability (J. Bracht, PI, D.J. Clegg, Co-PI 40% effort) $70,000/year

2020-2024-NIH 1R01NR019422-01 # GRANT12976396: The Influence of Sex Hormones, Sex Chromosomes, and Gender on Women's Metabolic & Mental Health (A. Trotter, PI, D.J. Clegg, Co-PI, S. Phillips, Co-PI) $95,000

2020-2022-NIH R25: Enhancing Nutrition Education with Diversity Training (J. Nassar, PI, D.J. Clegg Co-PI) $14,000

2020-2024- NIH/NCCIH: Integrative Intervention with Creative Arts Therapy and Nutrition- I2CAN (D. Sukumar, PI, K. Girija, PI, D.J. Clegg, Co-PI) $14,000

2020-2021- Brain Research Foundation Fay/Frank Seed Grant: Assessing the effect of Estrogen/Testosterone ratio on brain response to food stimuli in transgender adults (J. Nassar, PI, D. J. Clegg, Co-PI) $7,000

Editorial review board membership:

American Journal of Physiology (2000 – present)

Journal of Neuroscience (2002 – present)

Experimental Biology (2003 – present)

Diabetes (2003 – present)

International Journal of Obesity (2003 – present)

Obesity (2003 – present)

Cell Metabolism (2005 – present)

Neuroscience (2005 – present)

Endocrinology (2005 – present)

Physiology and Behavior (2005 – present)

Nature Medicine (2010 – present)

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) (2010 – present)

Journal of Clinical Investigation (2010 – present)

Research Interests

Nutrition, sex hormones, metabolism, obesity, diabetes


Research, Diabetes, Metabolism, Sex Hormones, Brain, Appetite, Nutrition, Body Weight Regulation, Cell-based Assays, Basic Science, Transgender Individual Health/Metabolism, Diet and Kidney Disease

1986 BS, Nutrition
Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR

1993 MBA
Boston University, Boston, MA

2000 PhD, Nutrition
University of Georgia, Athens, GA

2000-2002 Postdoctoral Fellow, Obesity Research Center
University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH