Tanya and Karen Strat represent the Fralin Translational Obesity Research Center at the Virginia Science Festival.


Lifestyle factors such as physical activity and dietary intake are strongly implicated in the development of chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately, few Americans engage in sufficient levels of exercise or consume a healthy, calorically-appropriate diet.

During my doctoral studies at Virginia Tech, I have worked on NIH and industry-funded clinical trials exploring the efficacy and effectiveness of exercise and dietary/controlled-feeding interventions for improving metabolic and cardiovascular health. My dissertation research examines if a resistance training program is associated with spontaneous changes to dietary intake and non-resistance training physical activity in adults with prediabetes. This is a topic I became interested in while working as a research assistant on my mentor, Dr. Brenda Davy’s  NIH-funded R01 “Resist Diabetes” project.

Other projects I have pursued outside of my dissertation and research assistant roles include: the association between added sugar intake and arterial stiffness; the changes in dietary intake, body mass and composition, and menstrual cycle during bodybuilding contest preparation and recovery; and the perceptions undergraduate and graduate nutrition and exercise students have of blogging as a required course component.

Prior to Virginia Tech I obtained research experience as an undergraduate at the University of Wyoming (in Dr. Enette Larson-Meyer’s lab) and as a dietetic intern and research assistant at the University of Houston. Projects I was involved with at those institutions focused on the interaction between nutrition and exercise on outcomes such as body composition and immune function in college athletes and active populations.


  • Influence of diet and exercise on obesity-related comorbidities
  • Lifestyle modifications
  • Energy balance and appetite regulation
  • Weight loss and prevention of weight regain
  • Prediabetes and type 2 diabetes
  • Sports nutrition and exercise performance
  • Scholarship of teaching and learning
  • Social media in higher education