Nawfal Istfan, MD

Institution: Brigham and Women's Hospital
Research: Nutrition and metabolism
Grants & Publications: Harvard Catalyst
Categories: BWH

The Istfan research lab primarily focuses on clinical research on human obesity and metabolism. His past research interests have focused on metabolic regulation of nutrients including protein, fat and omega-3 fatty acids and their role in cancer cell proliferation. His current research is primarily related the metabolic problems that accompany obesity such as insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Of particular importance is understanding how the body handles excessive nutrient loads and how acute overfeeding contributes to disease and cardiovascular risk.

Dr. Istfan has practiced obesity medicine and weight management for the past 25 years. He has vast experience in helping patients improve their metabolic health by diet and use of pharmacologic agents. His most recent publications have focused on the problem of weight regain and racial disparities after bariatric surgery. He has specific expertise in helping patients prevent and reduce weight regain following successful weight loss. In January 2021, Dr. Istfan joined the faculty in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Nutrition at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. At present, one project is ongoing:

1) Data repository of outpatients and inpatients in an urban medically-supervised nutrition and weight management center. Our group performs disparities research in bariatric surgery looking at the difference in racial and ethnic variability on weight loss and weight maintenance. We published that African American patients had significantly more weight regain after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass than Caucasian American patients
2) Dual Sugar Challenge Test for Assessment of Metabolic Overfeeding. The primary objective of this study is to determine the time course of cytoplasmic and mitochondrial redox changes in response to a challenge of glucose/fructose solution administered orally in normal weight participants and participants with obesity. Redox couple measurements will be entered into a model to estimate the cellular energy charge and predict the occurrence of metabolic overfeeding (MOF) at a sugar consumption level of 0.75 grams/kilogram (g/kg) and 1.75 g/kg.