Home   Directory   Faculty Cousins, Robert John, Ph.D.

Cousins, Robert John, Ph.D.

Robert Cousins Eminent Scholar
Boston Family Professor of Nutrition
Director, Center for Nutritional Studies, University of Florida

Contact Information

572 Newell Dr.
Food Science and Human Nutrition Building (FSHN)
Room 201A
P.O. Box 110370
Gainesville, FL 32611-0370

Phone: 352.392.2133
Email: cousins@ufl.edu
Website: http://cousins.ifas.ufl.edu


  • Post Doctoral. University of Wisconsin, Madison; Biochemistry, 1968-1971
  • Ph.D. University of Connecticut, Storrs; Nutritional Biochemistry, 1968
  • M.S. University of Connecticut, Storrs; Animal Sciences, 1965
  • B.A. University of Vermont, Burlington; Zoology-Chemistry, 1963

Research Interests

Dr. Cousins’ research has evolved from understanding the nutritional significance of zinc to elucidating how this micronutrient acts as a signaling molecule through regulated cellular transporters to produce influences on cellular function, host defense mechanisms and specific diseases. The laboratory members work as a team but on individual projects built around the central theme of zinc metabolism and function using the latest available technologies. The laboratory is unique in that this experimental theme is maintained from experiments at the molecular level, to those with isolated cells, with mutant mouse models, and to those with human subjects.

Classes Taught

HUN 6356 Minerals in Nutrition 3 credits Spring, odd numbered years
HUN 6812 Analytical Techniques in Nutritional Biochemistry 1 credit Spring, even numbered years


  • National Academy of Sciences, Elected Member, 2000
  • Bristol-Myers, Squibb/Mead Johnson Award for Distinguished Achievement in Biomedical (Nutrition) Research, 2003
  • American Society for Nutrition, Osborne and Mendel Award for Outstanding Basic Research, 1989
  • National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, MERIT Award, 1992-2000
  • USDA, Secretary’s Honor Award, 2000
  • American Society of Nutrition, Dannon Institute Mentorship Award, 2010
  • American College of Nutrition, Research Award, 2003
  • University of Florida, Gamma Sigma Delta Senior Faculty Award of Merit, 1993
  • American Society for Nutrition, President, 1996-1997
  • International Society for Trace Element Research in Humans, Distinguished Scientist, 2011
  • American Society for Nutrition, Mead Johnson Award for Research in Nutrition, 1979
  • University of Florida, Eminent Scholar Chair, 1982-present
  • USDA Agricultural Research Service, W.O. Atwater Lectureship, 2011
  • Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), President and Board Chairman, 1991-1992
  • University of Florida, Sigma Xi Senior Faculty Research Award, 2012
  • American Society for Nutrition, Elected Fellow, 2011
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science, Elected Fellow, 2014

Recent Publications

Cousins, R.J. and L.A. Lichten (2013) Nutritional regulation of gene expression and nutritional genomics. In Modern Nutrition and in Health and Disease, 11th ed. (A.C. Ross, B. Caballero, R.J. Cousins, K.I. Tucker, and T.B. Ziegler, eds.), Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore.

King, J. and R.J. Cousins (2013) Zinc. In: Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 11th Ed. (A.C. Ross, B. Caballero, R.J. Cousins, K.I. Tucker, and T.B. Ziegler, eds.), Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore.

Ross, A.C., Caballero, B., Cousins, R.J.,Tucker, K.I., and Ziegler, T.B. eds. (2013) Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 11th ed., Lippincolt Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore

Aydemir, T.B., Sitren, H., and R.J. Cousins (2012) The Zinc Transporter Zip14 Influences c-Met Phosphorylation and Hepatocyte Proliferation During Liver Regeneration in mice. Gastroenterology 142:1536-1546. PMC 3635537

Aydemir, T.B., Chang, S.M., Guthrie, G.J., Maki, A.B., Ryu, M.S., Karabikik, A., Cousins, R.J. (2012) Zinc Transporter ZIP14 Functions in Hepatic Zinc, Iron and Glucose Homeostasis during the Innate Immune Response (Endotoxemia). PLoS ONE 7(10): e48679. PMC 3480510

Ryu, M.S.,Guthrie G.J., Maki, A., Aydemir, T., and R.J. Cousins (2012) Proteomic analysis shows the upregulation of erythrocyte dematin in zinc-restricted human subjects. Am J Clin Nutr.95:1096-1102. PMC 3325834

Lichten, L.A., Ryu, M.S., Guo L., Embury J.E., and Cousins R.J. (2011) MTF-1-mediated repression of the zinc transporter Zip10 is alleviated by zinc restriction. PLoS ONE 6(6): e21526. PMC 3124522

Pinilla-Tenas, J.J., B.K. Sparkman, A. Shawki, A.C., Illing, C. J. Mitchell, N. Zhao, J. P. Luizzi, R.J. Cousins, M.D. Knutson and B. Mackenzie (2011) Zip 14 is a complex broad-scope metal-iron transporter whose functional properties support roles in the cellular uptake of zinc and non-transferrin-bound iron. Am. J. Physiol. 301: C862-C871.

Cousins, R. J. (2012) Trace element absorption and transport. In: Physiology of the Gastrointestinal Tract, Fifth Ed. (Johnon, L. R., ed.), Academic Press, Orlando, pp. 1951-1961.

Ryu, M.S., Langkamp-Henken, B., Chang, S.M., Shankar, M., and R.J. Cousins (2011) Genomic analysis, cytokine expression, and microRNA profiling reveal biomarkers of human dietary zinc depletion and homeostasis. PNAS 108:20970-20975. PMC 3248538

Cousins, R.J. (2010) Gastrointestinal factors influencing zinc absorption and homeostasis. Internat. J. Vitam. Nutr. Res. 80:243-248. PMC 3777256.

Cousins, R.J., Aydemir, T.B., Lichten, L.A. (2010) Transcription factors, regulatory elements, and nutrient-gene communication. Proc. Nutr. Soc. 69:91-94. PMC 2726764

Guo, L., Lichten, L.A., Ryu, M.S., Liuzzi, J.P., Wang, F., and R.J. Cousins (2010) STAT5-glucocorticoid receptor interaction and MTF-1 regulate the expression of ZnT2 (Slc30a2) in pancreatic acinar cells. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 107:2818-2823. PMC 2840329

Li, M., Y. Zhang, Z. Liu, U. Bharadwaj, H. Wang, X. Wang, S. Zhang, J.P. Liuzzi, S-H. Chang, R.J. Cousins, W.E. Fisher, F.C. Brunicardi, C.D. Logsdon, C. Chen, and Q. Yao (2007) Aberrant expression of zinc transporter ZIP4 (SLC39A4) significantly contributes to human pancreatic pathogenesis and progression. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 104:18636-18642.

Aydemir, T.B., R.K. Blanchard, and R.J. Cousins (2006) Zinc supplementation of young men alters metallothionein, zinc transporter, and cytokine gene expression in leukocyte populations. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 103:1699-1704.

Cousins, R.J. (2006) Trace element absorption and transport. In: Physiology of the Gastrointestinal Tract, Fourth Ed. (Johnson, L.R., K.E. Barrett, F.K. Ghishan, J.L. Merchant, H.M. Said, and J.D. Wood, eds.), Academic Press, Orlando, pp. 1993- 2000.

Cousins, R.J., J.P. Liuzzi, and L.A. Lichten (2006) Minireview: Mammalian zinc transport, trafficking, and signals. J. Biol. Chem. 281:24085-24089.

Cousins, R.J. (2006) Zinc. In: Present Knowledge in Nutrition – 9th Ed. (R.M. Russell and B.A. Bowman, eds.), ILSI Press, Washington, pp. 445-457.

Ryu, M.S., L.A. Lichten, J.P. Liuzzi, and R.J. Cousins (2008) Zinc transporters ZnT1 (Slc30a1), Zip8 (Slc39a8), and Zip10 (Slc39a10) in mouse red blood cells are differentially regulated during erythroid development and by dietary zinc deficiency. J Nutr, 138: 2076-2083. PMC 2635520

Aydemir, T.B., J.P. Liuzzi, S. McClellan, and R.J. Cousins (2009) Zinc transporter ZIP8 (SLC39A8) and zinc influence IFN-γ expression in activated human T cells. J. Leukoc. Biol. 86:337-348. PMC 2726764

Lichten, L.A., J.P. Liuzzi, and Cousins R.J. (2009) Interleukin-1beta contributes via nitric oxide to the up-regulation and functional activity of the zinc transporter Zip14 (Slc39A14) in murine hepatocytes. Am. J. Physiol. Gastrointest. Liver Physiol. 296: G860-G867. PMC 2670674

Lichten, L.A. and R.J. Cousins (2009) Mammalian Zinc Transporters: Nutritional and Physiologic Regulation. Annu. Rev. Nutr. 29:153-176. PMC 2726764

Liuzzi, J.P., L. Guo, S.M. Chang, and R.J. Cousins (2009) Kruppel-like factor 4 regulates adaptive expression of the Zinc transporter Zip4 in mouse small intestine. Am. J. Physiol. Gastrointest. Liver Physiol. 296:G517-G523. PMC 2660179.

Blanchard, R.K.and R.J. Cousins (2005) Modulation of gene expression by dietary zinc. In: Nutrigenomics: The Role of Oxidants and Antioxidants in Differential Gene Expression (Rimbach, G., J. Fuchs, and L. Packer, eds.), CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, pp. 457-472.

Cousins, R.J. (2005) Nutrient regulation of gene expression. In: Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 10th Ed. (Shils, M. E., M. Shike, A.C. Ross, B. Caballero, and R.J. Cousins, eds.), Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore, pp. 615-626.

Cousins, R.J. (2005) Trace Element Micronutrients. In: Encyclopedia of Molecular Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine, Vol. 8 (Meyers, R.A., ed.), Wiley-VCH, Weinheim, Germany, pp. 343-355

King, J. and R.J. Cousins (2005) Zinc. In: Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 10th Ed. (Shils, M. E., M. Shike, A.C. Ross, B. Caballero, and R.J. Cousins, eds.), Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore, pp. 271-285.

Liuzzi, J. P. L. A. Lichtn, S. Rivera, R. K. Blanchard, T. B. Aydemir, M. D. Knutson, T. Ganz and R. J. Cousins (2005) Interleukin-6 regulates the zinc transporter in Zip14 in liver and contributes to the hypozincemia of the acute-phase response. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 102:6843-6848.

Liuzzi, J.P. and R.J. Cousins (2004) Mammalian zinc transporters. Annu. Rev. Nutr. 24: 151-172.

Liuzzi, J.P., J.A. Bobo, L.A. Lichten, D.A. Samuelson, and R.J. Cousins (2004) Responsive transporter genes within the murine intestinal-pancreatic axis form a basis of zinc homeostasis. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 101:14355-14360.

Tagged as:

Text Only Options

Top of page

Text Only Options

Open the original version of this page.

Usablenet Assistive is a UsableNet product. Usablenet Assistive Main Page.