Dr Lehner’s laboratory research attempts to answer questions at the level of the mitochondrion with regard to energy efficiency and the regulation and dysregulation of oxidative stress. A key question behind his studies is how dietary components, both nutrients and contaminants, especially metals, affect mitochondrial function to result in homeostasis or disease. He is currently elucidating a new model of energy regulation and exploring how it ties together specifically the chronic diseases: Obesity, Diabetes Mellitus, Cardiovascular Disease, Cancer and Alzheimer’s Disease. The hypothesis underlying the model is that the central nervous system is used by the mitochondria to coordinate all energy related processes in the human body.
Key Collaborations with the University of Nottingham in the UK and the Buck Institute for Research on Aging in the USA, have allowed Dr Lehner to work with international leaders in the field, from Foetal Programming to Geroscience.
He is also now applying his understanding of bioenergetics regulation to the development of novel collagen matrices for use in bandages to facilitate more efficient wound healing. He has additionally, in the past worked on a large clinical trial to determine the effect of Vitamin E on exercise induced oxidative stress in relation to CVD, explored the effects of oxidation on specific enzymes, and have investigated how certain proteins regulate mRNA export from the nucleus.
Outside of the laboratory Dr Lehner completed a study which evaluated the effectiveness of government funded school based interventions on children’s eating behaviour, including drama based interventions. The study included investigating dietary intakes and assessing body composition, as well as the children’s dietary understanding. As a Result of this study and his association with Benevolent Ballet, Dr Lehner is now pursuing further interdisciplinary research to elucidate a new model of Empathic Engagement. This model connects the principles of behaviour modification with the principles of cellular and organismal energy metabolism to develop a unified and applicable theory of bioenergetics.