Academic Faculty

Mike Pagliassotti, Ph.D.

Mike Pagliassotti, Ph.D.

Department Head, Professor and
Lillian Fountain Smith Endowed Chair in Nutrition

234A Gifford Building | (970) 491-1390 |

Personal Statement:

Our laboratory is interested in identifying mechanisms that contribute to obesity-associated liver impairments. In particular our work focuses on 1) understanding the role of nutrients in liver disease progression in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, 2) identifying the role of nutrients in obesity-related hepatic endoplasmic reticulum stress, and 3) identifying links between endoplasmic reticulum stress and impairments in mitochondrial function.


  • Bachelor of Science, California State University, Northridge, 1982.
  • Master of Arts, California State University, Northridge, 1983.
  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Southern California, 1988.
  • Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Vanderbilt University Medical School, Dept. of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, 1988-1992.

Positions and Honors:

  • Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado Health Science Center, 1993-1997
  • Associate Professor, Departments of Exercise Science and Biology (with tenure), Arizona State University, 1998-2000
  • Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, 2001-2003
  • Professor, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Colorado State University, 2003-present
  • Lillian Fountain Smith Endowed Chair in Nutrition, Colorado State University, 2003-present
  • Department Head, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, CSU 2013-present
  • Scholarly Excellence Award, College of Health & Human Sciences, Colorado State University, 2009
Other Relevant Experience
  • Editorial Board, American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and Metabolism, 2010-present
  • Editorial Board, American Journal of Physiology: Regulatory, Integrative, Comparative, 2009-present
  • NIH/NIDDK study section (Member): Integrative Physiology of Obesity and Diabetes, July 2007-June 2011

Selected, Peer-Reviewed Publications (Selected from ~100):

  • Hudson WM, Pagliassotti MJ. Oxidative Stress and the Unfolded Protein Response in the Liver [Ch.5]. Studies on Hepatic Disorders. E Albano & M Parola Editors. Humana Press, Springer International. DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-15539-5, 2015
  • Pagliassotti MJ, Cox-York K, Weir T. Sugars and Metabolic Disorders in Animal Models Including Primates [Ch.12] Dietary Sugars and Health. M Goran, L Tappy, K Le Editors. CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group. 2015
  • C.L. Gentile, T.L. Weir, K.A. Cox-York, Y. Wei, D. Wang, L. Reese, G. Moran, A. Estrada, C. Mulligan, M.J. Pagliassotti, M.T. Foster. The Role of Visceral and Subcutaneous Adipose Tissue Fatty Acid Composition in Pathophysiology Associated with NALFD. Adipocyte; 4(2):1-12. DOI: 10.4161/21623945.2014.978662, 2014
  • K. Cox-York, Y. Wei, D. Wang, M.J. Pagliassotti, M.T. Foster. Lower body adipose tissue removal decreases glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity in mice with acute exposure to a high fat diet. Adipocyte; 4(1). DOI: 10.4161/2163945.2014.957988, 2014
  • D.Wang, Y. Wei, M.A. Frye, C.L. Gentile, M.J. Pagliassotti. Saturated fatty acid-induced cytotoxicity in liver cells does not involve Phosphatase and Tensin Homologue Deleted on Chromosome 10. Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, vol. 2013, Article ID 514206, 8 pages, doi:10.1155/2013/514206, 2013.
  • Y. Wei, D. Wang, A. Estrada, G. Moran, M.J. Pagliassotti. Fructose-induced stress signaling in the liver involves methylglyoxal. Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism 10:32, 2013; doi: 10.1186/1743-7075-10-32.
  • A. Nivala, L. Reese, E. Hemenway, M.A. Frye, C.L. Gentile, M.J. Pagliassotti. Fatty acid-mediated endoplasmic reticulum stress in the liver in vivo: Differential response to saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental 62:753-760, 2013.
  • K. Cox-York, T. Sharp, M.J. Pagliassotti, D. Bessesen, T.J. Horton. The effects of sex, metabolic syndrome and exercise on postprandial lipemia. Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental 62:244-254, 2013.
  • F. Ellis, A. Nivala, K.T. Pfaffenbach, C.L. Gentile, D. Wang, Y. Wei, M.J. Pagliassotti. C-reactive protein does not impair insulin suppression of glucose release in primary hepatocytes. Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases 22:115-119, 2012.
  • W.L. Holland, B.T. Bikman, L-P Wang, G. Yuguang, K.M. Sargent, S. Bulchand, T.A. knots, G. Shui, D.J. Clegg, M.R. Wenk, M.J. Pagliassotti, P.E. Scherer, S.A. Summers. Mechanism of inflammation-induced insulin resistance: Reliance of Toll-Like Receptor-4 (TLR4) action on ceramide synthesis reveals roles for saturated fatty acids. J. Clin. Invest. 121:1858-1870, 2011.
  • C.L. Gentile, A. Nivala, J. Gonzales, K. Pfaffenbach, D. Wang, Y. Wei, H. Jiang, D. Orlicky, D. Peterson, M.J. Pagliassotti, K.N. Maclean. Experimental evidence for therapeutic potential of taurine in the treatment of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Am. J. Physiol. 301:R1710-R1722, 2011.
  • K.T. Pfaffenbach, C.L. Gentile, A.M. Nivala, D. Wang, Y. Wei, M.J. Pagliassotti. Linking endoplasmic reticulum stress to cell death in hepatocytes: roles of C/EBP homologous protein and chemical chaperones in palmitate-mediated cell death. Am. J. Physiol. 298:E1027-E1035, 2010.

Research Support:

  • NIH R01 (DK072017), “Obesity and Hepatic Steatosis”, 09/01/2011-08/30/2016. Principal Investigator ($1,000,000 Direct costs)
  • NIH R01 (DK47416), “Nutrient Effects on Insulin Action”, 3/1/2012-4/30/2017. Principal Investigator ($1,000,000 Direct costs)