Susan B. Roberts, Ph.D.

Senior Scientist and Director
Energy Metabolism Laboratory
Phone: (617) 556-3238
Fax: (617) 556-3234




Ph.D., Nutrition, University of Cambridge, England

Research Focus
Obesity is widespread in all countries and causes diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer and arthritis, while also impairing cognition and reducing lifespan. The Energy Metabolism Laboratory conducts a broad range of unique studies integrating neurobiology, nutrition, and behavior science to identify improved and easier ways to reduce obesity in the USA and globally. Clinical studies in the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging are examining how dietary composition influences metabolic rate, hunger and weight regulation, whether caloric restriction can extend lifespan, and has demonstrated with brain imaging studies that it is possible to “retrain your brain” to prefer healthy over unhealthy food. Community interventions in military families and worksites are testing different interventions for making healthy weight management strategies easier and more sustainable throughout adult life. In addition, an International Obesity Consortium has been founded with scientists in 9 countries to understand cultural barriers to successful weight regulation throughout the lifecycle, and culture-specific interventions are being prepared for testing.

Academic Appointments
• Lab Director, JMUSDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging
• Senior Scientist, JMUSDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging
• Professor, Nutrition, Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University
• Professor, Psychiatry, Tufts University School of Medicine
• Senior Staff Member in Pediatrics, Tufts University School of Medicine

Selected Professional Affiliations
• Committee to Review the Process to Update the Dietary Guideines for Americans mandated by Congress in 2016 to improve the process of creating national dietary recommendations.
• Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition and Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging Appointments and Promotions Committees.
• Member of the American Society for Nutrition and The Obesity Society.

Select Publications
Batra P, Das Sk, Salinardi T, Robinson L, Saltzman E, Scott T, Pitta AG, Roberts SB. Eating behaviors as predictors of weight loss in a 6 month weight loss intervention. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2013 Mar 20.

Batra P, Das SK, Salinardi T, Robinson L, Saltzman E, Scott T, Pittas AG, Roberts SB. Relationship of cravings with weight loss and hunger. Results from a 6month worksite weight loss intervention. Appetite. 2013 Oct;69:1-7.

Karl J, Meydani M, Barnett JB, Vanegas SM, Goldin B, Rasmussen H, Saltzman E, Chen C-Y, Das SK, Jonnalagadda SS, Meydani S, Roberts SB. Substituting whole grains for refined grains in a 6-week randomized trial favorably affects energy balance parameters in healthy men and post-menopausal women. Amer J Clin Nutr first published online February 15, 2017. doi:10.3945/ajcn.117.152496.

Martin CK, Bhapkar M, Pittas A, Pieper C, Das SK, Williamson DA, Scott T, Redman LM, Stein R, Gilhooly CH, Stewart T, Robinson L, and Roberts SB. Effect of calorie restriction on mood, quality of life, sleep and, sexual function in healthy, non-obese adults. JAMA Internal Medicine.2016 Jun 1;176(6):743-52. PMCID: PMC4905696.

Urban L, McCrory MA, Dallal GE, Das SK, Saltzman E, Weber JL, Roberts SB. Accuracy of Stated energy contents of chain restaurant foods in a multi-site study. JAMA. 2011;306(3):287-293.

Salinardi TC, Batra P, Roberts SB, Urban LE, Robinson LM, Pittas AG, Lichtenstein AH, Deckersback T, Saltzman E, Das SK.  A lifestyle intervention reduces body weight and improves cardiometabolic risk factors in worksites. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013 Apr;97(4):667-76. PMCID: PMC3607649.

Full publication list of Dr. Roberts