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Kevin J. Pearson, PhD

Cancer Center Member

kevin pearson

Research Programs:
Cancer Prevention and Control

Colleges & Departments:
College of Medicine, Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences

Faculty Rank:
Associate Professor

Research Focus

Fetal programming is likely playing a role in the alarming increase in childhood obesity and will result in increased diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer during adulthood. However, the majority of research in this field has focused on negative outcomes associated with unhealthy or stressful pregnancies.

Instead we hope to provide evidence that the reverse can also be true. Our goal is to provide new information on the positive impact that maternal exercise or other interventions can have on offspring health. Such an intervention provides a realistic mechanism to improve insulin sensitivity in the next generation and positively impact insulin-resistant states that are associated with a plethora of age-related diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. If translatable to humans, healthcare costs would be significantly reduced by a short-term intervention like maternal exercise positively influencing long-term health in offspring. Education and public health campaigns were successful for the majority of women when the scientific community provided data that alcohol and drug use during pregnancy negatively impact the developing fetus, and we predict that women will exercise or try other safe interventions for the short-term duration of pregnancy if it translates into long-term beneficial effects for their children.

Contact Information

900 S. Limestone
591 CT Wethington Building, University of Kentucky
Lexington, KY 40536
United States



  1. Resveratrol improves health and survival of mice on a high-calorie diet. Baur, J.A.*, Pearson, K.J.*, Price, N.L., Jamieson, H.A., Lerin, C., Kalra, A., Prabhu, V.V., Allard, J.S., Lopez-Lluch, G., Lewis, K., Pistell, P.J., Poosala, S., Becker, K.G., Boss, O., Gwinn, D., Wang, M., Ramaswamy, S., Fishbein, K.W., Spencer, R.G., Lakatta, E.G., LeCouteur, D., Shaw, R.J., Navas, P., Puigserver, P., Ingram, D.K., de Cabo, R., and Sinclair, D.A. (2006) Nature, 444 (7117): 337-42.
  2. Nrf2 mediates cancer protection but not prolongevity induced by caloric restriction. Pearson, K.J., Lewis, K.N., Price, N.L., Chang, J.W., Perez, E., Cascajo, M.V., Tamashiro, K.L, Poosala, S., Csiszar, A., Ungvari, Z., Kensler, T.W., Yamamoto, Y., Egan, J.M., Longo, D.L., Ingram, D.K., Navas, P., and de Cabo, R. (2008) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S.A., 105 (7): 2325-2330. PMCID: PMC2268135
  3. The arcuate nucleus and NPY contribute to the antitumorigenic effect of calorie restriction. Minor, R.K., López, M., Younts, C.M., Jones, B., Pearson, K.J., Anson, R.M., Diéguez, C., and de Cabo, R. (2011) Aging Cell, 10(3):483-92. PMCID: PMC3094497
  4. Perinatal exercise improves glucose homeostasis in adult offspring. Carter, L.G., Lewis, K.N., Wilkerson, D.C., Tobia, C.M., Tenlep, S.Y.N., Shridas, P., Garcia-Cazarin, M.L., Wolff, G., Andrade, F.H., Charnigo, R.J., Esser, K.A., Egan, J.M., de Cabo, R., and Pearson, K.J. (2012) American Journal of Physiology Endocrinology and Metabolism, 303(8):E1061-8. PMCID: PMC3469606
  5. Perinatal polychlorinated biphenyl 126 exposure alters offspring body composition. Rashid, C., Carter, L.G., Hennig, B., and Pearson, K.J. (2013) Journal of Pediatric Biochemistry, 3(1):47-53. PMCID: PMC3670830
  6. Maternal exercise improves insulin sensitivity in mature rat offspring. Carter, L.G., Qi, N., de Cabo, R., and Pearson, K.J. (2013) Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 45(5):832-840. PMCID: PMC3617068
  7. Using Neonatal Skin to Study the Developmental Programming of Aging, Reynolds, L.J., Dickens, B.J., Green, B.B., Marsit, C.J., and Pearson, K.J. (2017) Experimental Gerontology, 94:93-98. PMCID: PMC5469695
  8. Developmental Origins of Health Span and Life Span: A Mini Review. Preston, J.D., Reynolds, L.J., and Pearson, K.J. (2018) Gerontology, 64(3):237-245. PMCID: PMC5876086.
  9. Benefits of Caloric Restriction in Longevity and Chemical-induced Tumorigenesis are Transmitted Independent of NQO1. Diaz-Ruiz, A., Di Francesco, A., Carboneau, B.A., Levan, S.R., Pearson, K.J., Price, N.L., Ward, T.M., Bernier, M., de Cabo, R. and Mercken, E.M. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2018 May 4. doi: 10.1093/gerona/gly112.
  10. Smoking during pregnancy increases chemerin expression in neonatal tissue, Reynolds, L.J., Chavan, N.R., DeHoff, L.B., Preston, J.D., Maddox, H.F., O’Brien, J.M., Armstrong, D.A., Marsit, C.J., and Pearson, K.J. (2019) Experimental Physiology, 104(1):93-99. PMCID: PMC6312488


Research Equipment