Dr Jennifer Miles-Chan

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Senior Lecturer


I am an integrative physiologist focused on investigating inter-individual variability in nutritional energetics and the regulation of body composition. My experience covers a diverse range of settings: including a solid background in pre-clinical models and molecular analyses, and experience in more epidemiological-type investigations.

Having completed my PhD (Physiology) at the University of Auckland in 2009, I undertook several years of research within the laboratory of Professor Abdul Dulloo (Faculty of Sciences and Medicine, University of Fribourg, Switzerland), running human translational research projects. Returning to the University of Auckland in mid-2017, after having been awarded a prestigious Sir Charles Hercus Health Research Fellowship from the Health Research Council (2017-2021), I have now established my research lab within the UoA Human Nutrition Unit in Mt Eden.

Research | Current

"Rien ne se perd, rien ne se crée, tout se transforme." (Nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is transformed) - Antoine Lavoisier, 1789.

Whereas machines require electrical or mechanical energy and plants largely depend on light energy, animals require chemical energy in the form of food nutrients or bodily stores to fuel resting metabolic processes and physical activity. Therefore understanding how the body regulates energy intake, energy stores and energy expenditure in order to maintain equilibrium is key to our understanding of human health and disease.

With this in mind, my research focuses on deciphering inter-individual variability in energy metabolism, and how this relates to inequities in our risk for metabolic disease. This research encompasses several related areas of nutritional energetics and the regulation of body composition, for example:

  • The influence of ethnicity on metabolic risk
  • The influence of sex hormones on metabolic risk
  • Bioactive food ingredients and diet-induced thermogenesis
  • Body composition auto-regulation
  • Low-intensity physical activity


Teaching | Current

BIOSCI 358  Nutritional Science (course director)

BIOSCI 203  Biochemistry

Postgraduate supervision

Current Students

Herman Marks (MBiosciEnt) Process Evaluation of Functional Food Clinical Trials in New Zealand. / University of Auckland

Taimi Theresa Tuimalealiifano (PhD) Health of Māori and Pacific women: relationships between CREBRF genotype and metabolic resilience. HRC Pacific Health Research PhD Scholarship / University of Auckland

Jack Penhaligan (PhD) Enhancing postprandial thermogenesis & lipid oxidation for the prevention of Type 2 Diabetes. University of Auckland Doctoral Scholarship / University of Auckland

Julia Cree (PhD) Deciphering disparity in obesity: the influence of ethnicity and sex hormones on macronutrient metabolism. Lottery Health Research PhD Scholarship / University of Auckland

Mozhgan Esmaeilpour Mollabashi (PhD) The Influence of Female-Specific Hormonal Factors on Body Composition and Body Weight Trajectory / University of Auckland

Kok Hong Leiu (PhD) Preventing Type 2 Diabetes: Nutrition Interventions in Asian Chinese Cohorts. Co-supervisor / University of Auckland

Jia Jiet Lim (PhD) Weight Management and the Prevention of Obesity – The Role of Dietary Protein in the Regulation of Appetite and Food Intake. Co-supervisor / University of Auckland

Terry O'Donnell (PhD) Impact of environmental conditions on energy balance. Co-supervisor / University of Otago.

Jo Slater (PhD) The gut microbiome - new pathways to obesity prevention and metabolic health, a focus on dietary intake, sleep and physical activity. Co-supervisor / Massey University

Recently Completed Students

Maharani Retna Duhita (PhD) Effect of menstrual cycle phase and oral contraceptive use on dietary protein-induced thermogenesis. Swiss Government Excellence Scholarship / University of Fribourg

Madison Rich (MSc) Popping Pills: The combined oral contraceptive pill and its acute effects on glucose metabolism, cardiometabolic health, appetite, and satiety / University of Auckland

Sophie L'Estrange (MSc) Effect of Oral Contraceptive Pill Use and Habitual Dietary Protein Intake on Glycaemia: A Pilot Study / University of Auckland


  • Sir Charles Hercus Health Research Fellowship, Health Research Council (2017-2021)
  • Director of University of Auckland Human Nutrition Unit
  • Principal Investigator, Metabolic Health Programme, High Value Nutrition National Science Challenge
  • Associate Investigator, Riddet Institute, National Centre of Research Excellence
  • Associate Investigator, Maurice Wilkins Centre for Molecular Biodiscovery, National Centre of Research Excellence


  • Science Leadership Team, High Value Nutrition National Science Challenge Programme
  • Associate Editor, Frontiers in Endocrinology (IF=5.6)
  • Associate Editor & Section Editor (Body Composition & Energy Balance), European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (IF=4.1)
  • Member & Webmaster, International Organising Committee, Recent Advances and Controversies in the Measurement of Energy Metabolism (RACMEM)
  • Local Organiser & Webmaster, 12th International Symposium on In Vivo Body Composition Studies

Areas of expertise

Thermogenesis, nutritional energetics and body composition regulation

Committees/Professional groups/Services

  • Member, Food and Health Programme Management Committee, University of Auckland
  • Member, Food, Food Production and Nutrition Research Theme, Faculty of Science
  • Member, Pacific Reference Group, Faculty of Science
  • Member, Pūtaiao Committee, School of Biological Sciences
  • Member, School of Biological Sciences Health & Safety Committee

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Calonne, J., Isacco, L., Miles-Chan, J., Arsenijevic, D., Montani, J.-P., Guillet, C., ... Dulloo, A. G. (2019). Reduced Skeletal Muscle Protein Turnover and Thyroid Hormone Metabolism in Adaptive Thermogenesis That Facilitates Body Fat Recovery During Weight Regain. FRONTIERS IN ENDOCRINOLOGY, 1010.3389/fendo.2019.00119
  • Isacco, L., & Miles-Chan, J. L. (2018). Gender-specific considerations in physical activity, thermogenesis and fat oxidation: implications for obesity management. Obesity reviews : an official journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity, 19 Suppl 1, 73-83. 10.1111/obr.12779
  • Dulloo, A. G., Miles-Chan, J., Schutz, Y., & Montani, J.-P. (2018). Targeting lifestyle energy expenditure in the management of obesity and health: from biology to built environment. Obesity reviews : an official journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity, 19 Suppl 1, 3-7. 10.1111/obr.12786
  • Monnard, C. R., Fares, E.-J., Calonne, J., Miles-Chan, J. L., Montani, J.-P., Durrer, D., ... Dulloo, A. G. (2017). Issues in continuous 24-h core body temperature monitoring in humans using an ingestible capsule telemetric sensor. Frontiers in Endocrinology, 8.10.3389/fendo.2017.00130
  • Fares, E.-J., Isacco, L., Monnard, C. R., Miles-Chan, J. L., Montani, J.-P., Schutz, Y., & Dulloo, A. G. (2017). Reliability of low-power cycling efficiency in energy expenditure phenotyping of inactive men and women. Physiological Reports, 5 (9).10.14814/phy2.13233
  • Miles-Chan, J. L., Fares, E.-J., Berkachy, R., Jacquet, P., Isacco, L., Schutz, Y., ... Dulloo, A. G. (2017). Standing economy: Does the heterogeneity in the energy cost of posture maintenance reside in differential patterns of spontaneous weight-shifting?. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 117 (4), 795-807. 10.1007/s00421-017-3563-7
  • Dulloo, A. G., Jacquet, J., Miles-Chan, J. L., & Schutz, Y. (2017). Passive and active roles of fat-free mass in the control of energy intake and body composition regulation. European journal of clinical nutrition, 71 (3), 353-357. 10.1038/ejcn.2016.256
  • Dulloo, A. G., Miles-Chan, J. L., & Montani, J.-P. (2017). Nutrition, movement and sleep behaviours: their interactions in pathways to obesity and cardiometabolic diseases. Obesity reviews : an official journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity, 18 Suppl 1, 3-6. 10.1111/obr.12513

Contact details

Primary office location

18 CARRICK PLACE - Bldg 581
Level G, Room G02
New Zealand

Web links