Robert J. Cousins, Ph.D.

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

Office: 572 Newell Dr., Food Science and Human Nutrition Building (FSHN), Room 201

Phone: (352) 392-2133


Current 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.


  • 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

Selected 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