Dr. P. Darrell Neufer, Ph.D.

Director, East Carolina Diabetes and Obesity Institute

Phone: 252-744-2780
E-mail: neuferp@ecu.edu

Neufer Lab Website

Research Interests

Bioenergetics is the study of the free energy forces and conversions responsible for establishing and maintaining energy homeostatasis in all cells.  Mitochondria are central to this process, converting the food ingested into a useable form of energy, ATP.  The long-term goal of the Neufer Lab is to decifer the mechanisms controlling mitochondrial efficiency and function under normal and metabolically compromised or stressed states, and to determine how altered mitochondrial function in turn contributes to, or counterbalances against, the etiology and/or pathology of metabolic diseases. We employ multiple approaches to investigate in real-time the mechanisms governing mitochondrial bioenergetics, including respiratory kinetics and control, oxidative phosphorylation, H2O2 production/emission, force-flow inter-relationships (ΔGredox, ΔGΔΨ, ΔGATP) and P/O indices, membrane potential, redox buffering/circuitry and calcium retention capacity (index of permeability transition susceptibility).  Studies are conducted in intact cells, permeabilized cells/tissue, or isolated mitochondria, and projects range from basic science studies utilizing variouis model systems (cultured cells, flies, mouse genetic models, rats) to translational studies in humans.


  • 2021-present: Professor, Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology (adjunct), East Carolina University, Greenville, NC
  • 2011-present: Professor, Departments of Physiology (primary), and Kinesiology (adjunct), East Carolina University, Greenville, NC
  • 2009-present: Director, East Carolina Diabetes & Obesity Institute, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC
  • 2009-2011: Professor, Departments of Kinesiology (primary) & Physiology (adjunct), East Carolina University, Greenville, NC
  • 2006-2009: Associate Professor, Departments of Kinesiology (primary) & Physiology (adjunct), East Carolina University, Greenville, NC
  • 2004-2006: Associate Professor, Cellular & Molecular Physiology, Yale University, New Haven, CT
  • 2002-2006: Associate Fellow, John B. Pierce Laboratory, New Haven, CT
  • 1998-2004: Assistant Professor, Cellular & Molecular Physiology, Yale University, New Haven, CT
  • 1996-2002: Assistant Fellow, John B. Pierce Laboratory, New Haven, CT
  • 1993-1996: Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Internal Medicine (Cardiology), University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX
  • 1989-1993: Ph.D. Biochemistry, East Carolina University School of Medicine, Greenville, NC
  • 1986-1989: Research Physiologist (civilian, GS-11), Military Ergonomics Division, U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Natick, MA
  • 1984-1986: M.S. Exercise Physiology, Human Performance Laboratory, Ball State University, Muncie, IN
  • 1980 – 1984: B.S. Physical Education, West Virginia Wesleyan College, Buckhannon, WV

Selected Recent Publications

Full List of Pubmed Publications

  • Schmidt CA, Fisher-Wellman KH and Neufer PD. From OCR to ECAR to energy: perspectives on the design and interpretation of bioenergetics studies. J. Biol. Chem. 297:101140, 2021 (invited review) PMID 34461088
  • Smith CD, Schmidt CA, Lin C-T, Fisher-Wellman KH, and Neufer PD. Flux through mitochondrial redox circuits linked to nicotinamide nucleotide transhydrogenase generates counterbalance changes in energy expenditure. J. Biol. Chem. 295:16207-16216, 2020. PMID: 32747443
  • Torres MJ, Kew KA, Ryan TE, Pennington ER, Lin C-T, Buddo KA, Fix AM, Smith CA, Gilliam LA, Karvinen S, Lowe DA, Spangenburg EE, Zeczycki TN, Shaikh SR and Neufer PD. 17β-estradiol modulates membrane lipid packing and electron transfer efficiency in skeletal muscle mitochondria. Cell Metabolism 27:167-179, 2018. PMID: 29103922
  • Neufer PD.  “The Bioenergetics of Exercise” In: The Biology of Exercise. Edited by J. Zierath, J. Hawley, and M. Joyner. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, Perspectives in Medicine, May 1;8(5), 2018.  PMID: 28490536
  • Fisher-Wellman KH, Lin C-T, Ryan TE, Reese LR, Gilliam LA, Cathey BL, Lark DS, Smith CD, Muoio DM, Neufer PD.  Pyruvate dehydrogenase complex and nicotinamide nucleotide transhydrogenase constitute an energy consuming redox circuit.  Biochem J.  467:271-280, 2015. PMID: 25643703.
  • Neufer PD, Bamman MM, Muoio DM, Bouchard C, Cooper DM, Goodpaster BH, Booth FW, Kohrt WM, Gerszten RE, Mattson MP, Hepple RT, Kraus WE, Reid MB, Bodine SC, Jakicic JM, Fleg JL, Williams JP, Joseph L, Evans M, Maruvada P, Rodgers M, Roary M, Boyce AT, Drugan JK, Koenig JI, Ingraham, RH, Krotoski D, Garcia-Cazarin M, McGowan JA, and Laughlin MR.  Understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms of physical activity-induced health benefits.  Cell Metabolism 22:4-11, 2015.  PMID:26073496
  • Muoio DM, Neufer PD.  Lipid-induced mitochondrial stress and insulin action in muscle.  Cell Metabolism 15:595-605, 2012. PMID: 22560212
  • Fisher-Wellman KH, Neufer PD.  Linking mitochondrial bioenergetics to insulin resistance via redox biology.  Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism 23:142-153, 2012. PMID: 22305519
  • Anderson EJ, Lustig ME, Boyle KE, Woodlief TL, Kane DA, Lin C-T, Price JW III, Kang L, Rabinovitch PS, Szeto HH, Houmard JA, Cortright RN, Wasserman DH and Neufer PD.   Mitochondrial H2O2 emission and cellular redox state link excess fat intake to insulin resistance in both rodents and humans. J. Clin. Invest. 119:565-574, 2009. PMID: 19188681
  • Pilegaard H, Saltin B, and Neufer PD.  Exercise induces transient transcriptional activation of the PGC-1 gene in human skeletal muscle.  J. Physiol. 546:851-858, 2003. PMID: 12563009