Hall of Fame, 2021

Lauri O. Byerley

Dr. Lauri ByerleyLauri O. Byerley, PhD, received her BS from Iowa State University and then moved to West Lafayette, IN, where she completed her MS with Avanelle Kirksey and the requirements to be a Registered Dietitian in May 1981.  In September 1981, she got married and moved to Los Angeles, CA.  Her first job was with the Clinical Research Center at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, CA, where she met many influential researchers, most notably Dr. David Heber. With him, she started investigating insulin resistance in cachectic cancer patients and metabolic shifts that occur in obese patients during weight loss. In 1983, Dr. Byerely started her Ph.D. at UCLA in the School of Public Health under Dr. Heber and Dr. Micheal Jones's guidance. She further characterized insulin resistance in cachectic cancer patients using the newly developed euglycemic clamp and Bergman Minimal Model. She also assisted Dr. Heber in developing the UCLA Weight Management Program.

Shortly after completing her Ph.D., Dr. Byerley’s husband's job moved her to the San Francisco area. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship in the Department of Surgery at Stanford University, looking at the newly discovered molecule, TNF's role in promoting cancer cachexia. This position was followed by a second post-doctoral fellowship at the Research and Education Institute with Dr. Paul Lee when her husband's job moved her again.  Together, Drs. Lee and Byerley developed a new method of measuring de novo lipogenesis with stable isotopes.

The next move was to the University of Texas at Austin, where Dr. Byerley became an Assistant Professor in the Nutrition Department. During her time there, she mentored several graduate and undergraduate students, taught nutrition classes, and continued her research in cancer cachexia and the use of stable isotopes to trace in vivo metabolic pathways.  Dr. Byerley met Dr. Edward Coyle, and they teamed up to use stable isotopes to trace fuel substrate use during exercise.

After a few years, her husband's job moved them again, this time to the Chicago area, where she was an Assistant Professor in Pediatric Surgery and Gastroenterology. She continued her cachexia studies and used her stable isotope techniques to collaborate with several other investigators.

Dr. Byerley’s tenure at the University of Chicago ended when her husband's job moved them south to Louisiana, where she became an Assistant Professor at Pennington Biomedical Research Center and Assistant Director of the Stable Isotope Core. During this time, she also developed techniques in proteomics. The next move was to the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, where she was an Associate Professor in the Biology Department. Three years later, a final move was to New Orleans, LA, where she remains an Associate Professor in the Louisiana State University Health Science Center's (LSUHSC) School of Medicine's Physiology Department. At LSUHSC, she has been investigating the impact of diet on the gut microbiome, metabolic processes, and body composition.

Dr. Byerley remained productive during her many moves and has published more than 35 peer-reviewed articles, edited and curated several books, and continues to publish.  She has given many lectures at the local, state, and national levels, developed and chaired several national education symposiums, and made guest appearances on television and radio.

She has mentored many undergraduate and graduate students and taught numerous nutrition classes both in-person and online.  As Professor at the American Public University system, she has developed and taught online classes for several years. Her teaching passion has earned her the university's highest awards, Excellence in Teaching and Learning Award and the Graduate Excellence in Teaching Award. One of her current passions is teaching medical students the importance of nutrition to improve their patients' quality of life.

She is active in several professional organizations, most recently holding national offices in the Research Dietetic Practice group. She also enjoys volunteering which has included being a Girl Scout troop leader, Boy Scout leader, Little League Baseball coach, Equestrian Team coach, Cross Country and Track Booster President, naming a few. If there is a need, she is always willing to help out.

Dr. Byerley and her husband have two children, William and Ann. William recently graduated from college and is employed as a Chemical Engineer.  Ann is a third-year student studying Biomedical Engineering. When Dr. Byerley is not busy professionally, you will find her running, riding her bike, gardening, cooking, or traveling.



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