Assistant Professor

Adam Metherel

Department of Nutritional Sciences


Medical Sciences Building
1 King's College Circle, Toronto, Ontario Canada M5S 1A8
Research Interests
blood biomarkers, docosahexaenoic acid , eicoapentaenoic acid , metabolism, omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, sex differences, synthesis, genetics
Appointment Status
Pending the availability of funding


  • Research Associate, Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto (2020-2021)
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto (2014-2020)
  • Mitacs Elevate Industrial Postdoctoral Fellowship, Certo Labs Inc. and University of Waterloo (2012-2014)
  • PhD, Kinesiology, University of Waterloo (2008-2012)
  • MSc, Kinesiology, University of Waterloo (2005-2007)
  • BSc, Kinesiology, University of Waterloo (2000-2005)

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At a Glance

  • Dr. Metherel leads a translational research program investigating the role of sex, genetics and dietary fatty acids on omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid metabolism, and its implications in health and pregnancy.

About Dr. Adam Metherel

Dr. Adam Metherel recently commenced his position as Assistant Professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences in September 2021. He previously trained as a Mitacs Elevate Postdoctoral Fellow with Certo Labs Inc. and a Postdoctoral Fellow and Research Associate in the Department with Dr. Richard Bazinet, after completing his PhD in Kinesiology at the University of Waterloo with Dr. Ken Stark.

Research Synopsis

Dr. Metherel is currently developing new models for determining synthesis rates of DHA and other omega-3 PUFA from dietary precursors, while simultaneously using these models to identify the metabolic mechanisms driving the known sex differences in omega-3, and particularly DHA status. To do so, Dr. Metherel’s research program combines small isotopic differences in the carbon content of dietary fatty acids to track their movement throughout the body with a genetic knockouts, ovariectomization and models of pregnancy. These models for characterizing sex differences in omega-3 metabolism are also being developed with the long-term goal of translation into various human populations such as in pregnancy, and in other healthy and unhealthy populations.

Recent Awards and Distinctions (Selected)

American Society for Nutrition Foundation, National Scientific Achievement Awards: E. L. R. Stokstad Award (2024)

Recent Publications

  1. Liu J, Sahin C, Ahmad S, Magomedova L, Zhang M, Jia Z, Metherel AH, Orellana A, Poda G, Bazinet RP, Attisano L, Cummins CL, Peng H, Krause HM. The omega-3 hydroxy fatty acid 7(S)-HDHA is a high-affinity PPARα ligand that regulates brain neuronal morphology. Sci Signal. 2022 Jul 5;15(741):eabo1857. doi: 10.1126/scisignal.abo1857. Epub 2022 Jul 5. PMID: 35857636.
  2. Videla LA, Hernandez-Rodas MC, Metherel AH, Valenzuela R. Influence of the nutritional status and oxidative stress in the desaturation and elongation of n-3 and n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids: Impact on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2022 Apr 22;181:102441. doi: 10.1016/j.plefa.2022.102441. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35537354.
  3. Sylvestre DA, Otoki Y, Metherel AH, Bazinet RP, Slupsky CM, Taha AY. Effects of hypercapnia / ischemia and dissection on the rat brain metabolome. Neurochem Int. 2022 Jan 29:105294. doi: 10.1016/j.neuint.2022.105294. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35104537.
  4. Cisbani G, Koppel A, Metherel AH, Smith ME, Aji KN, Andreazza AC, Mizrahi R, Bazinet RP. Serum lipid analysis and isotopic enrichment is suggestive of greater lipogenesis in young long-term cannabis users: A secondary analysis of a case-control study. Lipids. 2022 Jan 24. doi: 10.1002/lipd.12336. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35075659.
  5. Smith ME, Cisbani G, Metherel AH, Bazinet RP. The Majority of Brain Palmitic Acid is Maintained by Lipogenesis from Dietary Sugars and is Augmented in Mice fed Low Palmitic Acid Levels from Birth. J Neurochem. 2021 Nov 15. doi: 10.1111/jnc.15539. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34780089.
  6. Caipo L, Sandoval A, Sepúlveda B, Fuentes E, Valenzuela R, Metherel AH, Romero N. Effect of Storage Conditions on the Quality of Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil and the Impact on the Composition of Flavor-Related Compounds (Phenols and Volatiles). Foods. 2021 Sep 13;10(9):2161. doi: 10.3390/foods10092161. PMID: 34574270; PMCID: PMC8466157.
  7. Cisbani G, Metherel AH, Smith ME, Bazinet RP. Murine and human microglial cells are relatively enriched with eicosapentaenoic acid compared to the whole brain. Neurochem Int. 2021 Nov;150:105154. doi: 10.1016/j.neuint.2021.105154. Epub 2021 Aug 10. PMID: 34384851.
  8. Metherel AH, Rezaei K, Lacombe RJS, Bazinet RP. Plasma unesterified eicosapentaenoic acid is converted to docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in the liver and supplies the brain with DHA in the presence or absence of dietary DHA. Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Cell Biol Lipids. 2021 Aug;1866(8):158942. doi: 10.1016/j.bbalip.2021.158942. Epub 2021 Apr 9. PMID: 33845223.
  9. Harris WS, Tintle NL, Manson JE, Metherel AH, Robinson JG. Effects of menopausal hormone therapy on erythrocyte n-3 and n-6 PUFA concentrations in the Women's Health Initiative randomized trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2021 Jun 1;113(6):1700-1706. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqaa443. PMID: 33710263; PMCID: PMC8168349.
  10. Sivasubramaniyam T, Yang J, Pollock E, Chon J, Schroer SA, Li YZ, Metherel AH, Dodington DW, Bazinet RP, Woo M. Hepatic Igf1-Deficiency Protects Against Atherosclerosis in Female Mice. Endocrinology. 2021 May 1;162(5):bqab040. doi: 10.1210/endocr/bqab040. PMID: 33647942.

Current Lab Members

Kuorosh Rezaei - MSc student

Ruxandra Rotarescu – MSc student