Fulbright Scholar Joins NGN
20 Sep 2013Fulbright Scholar, Rio Jati Kusuma, a Master’s student from Indonesia, joined Dr. Janos Zempleni’s lab at UNL in the Department of Nutrition and Health Sciences this fall. He completed his undergraduate study at the Gadjah Mada University (UGM) in Indonesia. Prior to applying for a Fulbright scholarship, Rio worked for a year at the Pediatric Research Office at Central Hospital, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, as a research assistant; and then as an assistant in the Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, UGM. As a Fulbright Scholar, he will be in the Master’s program here at UNL for the next two years. Rio’s research interest and focus is in the area of molecular nutrition, especially in the field of degenerative disease. He has previously completed research focusing on the prevention or treatment of degenerative disease including: 1) the anti-obesity effect of local traditional fermented buffalo milk (dadih) in high fat induced obesity of rats; 2) the potential use of Dioscorea esculenta spp for energy metabolism (ATP) in diabetic rats induced by streptozotocin-nicotinamide; and 3) exploring the potential use of Dioscorea esculenta spp (with or without fermentation) on the expression of energy generating gene such as PGC-1alpha, cytochrome c oxidase and AMPK in diabetic strptozotocin-nicotinamide rats. This third research project was sponsored by the Ministry of Education for combating anemia using iron-fortified tempeh, an Indonesian traditional fermented food. He currently is doing a research project under Dr. Zempleni’s supervision searching small molecules from the gut that can inhibit the ACC-2 activity. Upon receiving his Master’s degree, Rio will return to Indonesia and continue as a researcher and lecturer in the Department of Nutrition, Faculty of Medicine, UGM. The Ministry of Health of Indonesia has set a new goal in 2020 for reducing the high economic burden caused by degenerative disease due to its complication. They hope to reach this goal by encouraged a molecular basis as a new strategy and tool to prevent or treat degenerative disease, especially diabetes and high blood pressure, that is projected to reach dramatic heights in 2020 if no immediate action is taken. Rio’s objective is to help the Ministry of Health reach this goal.
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