Primary Faculty


José Fernández, Ph.D.
Professor and Vice Chair for Education
1675 University Blvd.
Webb 522

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Miscellaneous Information

Dr. José R. Fernández is a Professor and Vice Chair for Education in the Department of Nutrition Sciences. Dr. Fernández obtained his Ph.D. in Biobehavioral Health from Pennsylvania State University, training in genetics of complex traits under the advisory of Dr. Gerald McClearn and working with the three most commonly used models for genetic research: fruit flies, mice, and humans. He continued his academic training at the New York Obesity Research Center at Columbia University as a post-doctoral fellow focusing on genetics of obesity, under the mentorship of Dr. David B. Allison, and receiving specialized training in statistical models to improve the identification of genetic and environmental influences on obesity-related characteristics.

Dr. Fernández joined UAB in August 2001, bringing special expertise in the application of statistical models to detect and disentangle genetic and environmental influences in obesity-related traits. Dr. Fernández's main research interest is the identification of genes that contribute to racial differences in obesity and diabetes. He uses the genetic admixture approach as a tool to decompose the genetic, social and cultural components underlying racial and ethnic differences in complex traits. He is also interested on the application of methods for gene mapping, the use of linear statistical models to (a) identify genes in the population, (b) identify gene-gene interactions, and (c) identify the interaction of genes and environment; as well as the use of statistical approaches to improve the identification of genes in the population.

Dr. Fernández serves as a member of the Editorial Board for the International Journal of Obesity and for Ethnicity and Disease. He has been the recipient of many awards, including the UAB President’s Faculty Diversity Award (2007),the UAB Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring (2010), and the UAB School of Health Professions Joseph F Volker Outstanding Faculty Award (2012).

Download CV (pdf)

Selected Publications:

1.      Fernández JR, Shriver MD, Beasley TM, Rafla-Demetrious N, Parra E, Albu J, Nicklas B, Ryan AS, McKeigue PM, Hoggart CL, Weinsier R, Allison DB. (2003). Association of African Genetic Admixture with Resting Metabolic Rate and Obesity Among African American Women. Obes Res, 11: 904-911. PMID: 12855761

2.      Bonilla C, Shriver MD, Parra EJ, Jones A, Fernández JR. (2004). Ancestral Proportions and their Association with Skin Pigmentation and Bone Mineral Density in Puerto Rican Women from New York City. Hum Genet, 15(1): 57-68. PMID: 15118905

3.      Fernández JR, Redden D, Pietrobelli A, Allison DB. (2004). Waist Circumference Percentiles in Nationally Representative Samples of Black, White and Hispanic Children. J Pediatr,145(4): 439-444. PMID: 15480363

4.      Fernández JR, Casazza K, Divers J, López-Alarcón, M. (2007). Disruptions in energy balance: Does nature overcome nurture? Physiology and Behavior, 94(1): 105-112. PMCID: PMC2441759

5.      Lara-Castro C, Hunter GR, Lovejoy JC, Gower BA, Fernández JR. (2005). Association of the Intestinal Fatty Acid Binding Protein Ala54Thr Polymorphism and Abdominal Adipose Tissue in African American and Caucasian Women. J Clin Endocrinol Metab, 90(2):1196-1201. PMID: 15572430

6.      Higgins PB, Fernández JR, Goran MI, Gower BA. (2005). Early Ethnic Difference in IGF-1 is Associated with African Genetic Admixture. Pediatr Res, 58(5): 850-854. PMID: 16183814

7.      López-Alarcón M, Hunter GR, Gower BA, Fernández JR. (2007). IGF-I Polymorphism is associated with lean mass, exercise economy and performance. Arch Med Res, 38(1): 56-63. PMCID: PMC1831461

8.      Divers J, Vaughan LK, Padilla M, Fernández JR, Allison DB, Redden DT. (2007). Correcting for measurement error in individual ancestry estimates in structured association tests. Genetics, 176 (3): 1823-1833. PMCID: PMC19311538

9.      Fernández JR, Casazza K, Divers J, López-Alarcón, M. (2007). Disruptions in energy balance: Does nature overcome nurture? Physiology and Behavior, 94(1): 105-112. PMCID: PMC2441759

10.   Dulin-Keita A, Casazza K, Thomas O, Fernández JR. (2009). Neighborhood Level Disadvantage is Associated with Reduced Dietary Quality in Children. J Am Diet Assoc.  109 (9): 1612-6. PMCID: PMC2760324

11.   Suchy FJ, Brannon PM, Carpenter TO, Fernández JR, Gilsanz V, Gould JB, Hall K, Hui SL, Lupton J, Mennella J, Miller N, Osganian SK, Sellmeyer DE, Wolf MA (2010). National Institutes of Health Consensus Development Conference: Lactose Intolerance and Health. Ann Inter Med, 152(12):792-6. PMID: 20404261

12.   Hanks L, Casazza K, Willig AL, Cardel MI, Beaseley TM, Fernández JR.  Associaton among calcium intake, resting energy expenditure, and body fat in a multiethnic sample of children. (2010).J Peds. 157(3): 473-478. PMID: 220400090

13.   Cardel M, Higgins PB, Willig AL, Keita AD, Casaza K, Gower BA, Fernández JR. (2011). African genetic admixture is associated with body composition and fat distribution in a cross-sectional study of children. Int J Obes. 35(1): 60-65.

14.   Klimentidis YC, Dulin-Keita A, Casazza K, Willig AL, Allison DB, Fernández JR (2011). Genetic admixture, social-behavioral factors, and body composition are associated with blood pressure differently by racial-ethnic group among children. Journal of Human Hypertension, 26(2): 98-107.PMCID: PMC3172395

15.   Willig AL, Hunter GR, Casazza K, Heimburger DC, Beasley TM, Fernández JR. (2011). Body fat and racial genetic admixture are associated with aerobic fitness levels in a multiethnic pediatric population.  Obesity. PMCID: PMC3182292

16.   Cardel M, Willig AL, Dulin-Keita A, Casazza K, Beasley TM, Fernández JR. (2011) Parental Feeding Practices and Perceptions are not Predictors of Child Adiposity in a Multi-Ethnic Sample.Appetite, 58(1): 347-353.

17.   Needham BL, Fernández JR, Lin J, Epel ES, Blackburn EH (2012). Socioeconomic status and cell aging in children. Soc Sci Med, 74(12): 1948-51.

18.   Malek AJ, Klimentidis YC, Kell KP, Fernández, JR (2013). Associations of the lactase persistence allele and lactose intake with body composition among multiethnic children. Genes Nutr [epub ahead of print]

19.   Fernández JR, Pearson KE, Kell KP & Bohan Brown MM. (2013) Genetic admixture and obesity: recent perspectives and future applications. Human Heredity.75 (2-4): 98-105. PMID: 24081225.

20.   Kell KP, Cardel MI, Bohan Brown MM, Fernández JR (2014) Added sugars in the diet are positively associated with diastolic blood pressure and triglycerides in children. Am J Clin Nutr, PMID: 24717340