Julia Matzenbacher dos Santos

Assistant Professor
Health Promotion & Development


Dr. Santos has a background in physiology and molecular biology and a specific focus on physical exercise interventions for individuals with metabolic diseases such as metabolic syndrome and diabetes. Her research interest lies in acute and regular exercise's role in preventing diseases, focusing on epigenetic modification and mitochondria dysfunction. In addition, Dr. Santos studies the effect of endocrine disrupting compounds, such as environmental estrogen, in the development of insulin resistance.

Dr. Santos received her both BS/BA in Exercise Science and Physical Education from Methodist University (Porto Alegre, Brazil) and her Ph.D. from the University of Porto/ Sports Faculty (Porto, Portugal). Dr. Lee also was a post-doctoral fellow at Wayne State University/School of Medicine (Detroit, MI), trained in anatomy and cell biology, focusing on Diabetic Retinopathy.

At the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Santos teaches Anatomy and Physiology to students in the School of Nursing.

Dr. Santos has been serving as a member of national/international committees such as the Research Committee of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine (MARC ACSM). In addition, as principal investigator, Dr. Santos has received research grants from organizations such as NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium, Brazilian National Council for Science and Eye and Vision Program, and Midwest Eye Bank.

Scholarly Emphasis

Diabetes and its complications

Exercise Physiology 

Insulin Resistance

Mitochondria dysfunction

Epigenetic modifications