Margarita Teran-Garcia

 Margarita Teran-Garcia
Margarita Teran-Garcia she/her/hers
Teaching Assistant Professor
Biomedical and Translational Sciences
(217) 244-2025
201 Bevier Hall


  • Ph.D., 2001, University of Texas at Austin
  • Pediatric Speciality, 1995, National Institute of Pediatrics, Mexico City, Mexico
  • M.D., 1989, National Autonomous University, UNAM, Mexico City, Mexico


Dr. Teran-Garcia obtained her M.D. from the National University Autonomous of Mexico, UNAM, and did her pediatric residency at the National Institute of Pediatrics in Mexico. In 2001, she received her Ph.D. in Metabolism/Nutrient-gene interactions form the University of Texas at Austin under the mentorship of Prof. Steven D. Clarke. After completing her post-doctoral training with Prof. Claude Bouchard at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, she continued her work as an Associate Scientist in the Human Genomics Laboratory and as Co-Director of the Cell Culture Core Facility. Dr. Teran-Garcia has experience in clinical nutrition, nutrigenetics, and childhood obesity. In August of 2008, she joined the faculty of Food Science and Human Nutrition as an Assistant Professor in Nutrition. She served as chair of the Latin American Affairs Section and as elected Council at-large of The Obesity Society (2011-2017).


Resident Instruction

  • FSHN 510 - Advanced Clinical Nutrition. Obesity and Obesity-related diseases. (part 2)
  • FSHN 510 - Advanced Clinical Nutrition. Obesity and Obesity-related diseases. (part 1)
  • NUTR 500 - Nutritional Sciences Seminar
  • FSHN 520 - Advanced Clinical Nutrition. Weight Management and Metabolic Syndrome.
  • FSHN 420 - Nutritional Aspects of Disease

Research Interests

  • Human nutrition; gene- nutrient interactions of humans; the role of genetic and environmental influences on the development of obesity. Obesity and its related diseases are now a worldwide health and socio-economical burden. Although it is likely that the growing epidemic of obesity is primarily related to unhealthy diets and lack of exercise, heritability studies indicate that genetic factors account for 30 to 70% of the predisposition to excessive weight gain. Despite the progress in identifying some monogenic causes of obesity, the progress in defining the genetic basis of common obesity has been proven to be a complex task.  Obesity increases the risk of developing diseases such as insulin resistance and diabetes, altered lipoprotein metabolism, hypertension and cardiovascular disease, some forms of cancer, sleep apnea, and osteoarthritis. These obesity-related diseases have also a genetic component. The goal of my research is to expand on the knowledge of gene-environment interactions. Our individual genetic profile interacts with the environment to allow a gene or groups of genes in different metabolic pathways to adapt to changes in diet or exercise and many other environmental factors, to maintain a healthy status. As we understand more about gene-environment interactions, individualized recommendations for preventing obesity and obesity-related diseases will become more accessible and reliable. My research group investigates nutrient-gene, exercise-gene and other gene-environment interactions in children and adults from diverse populations. We will use high-throughput systems to genotype markers and real-time RT-PCR for gene expression analysis. These data will be integrated with anthropometric measurements, life-style factors and blood metabolic profiles to investigate genetic associations. We intend to use these techniques to identify genes that might be associated with obesity and related diseases. Our goal is to find early diagnosis markers that will help in the development of effective and individualized interventions directed at preventing childhood and adult obesity, and the morbidity due to obesity-related diseases.

Other Publications

  • Wang A.A., Harrison K., Musaad, S., Donovan S.M., Teran-Garcia M. and the STRONG Kids Research Group. Genetic risk scores demonstrate the cumulative association of single nucleotide polymorphisms in gut microbiome-related genes with obesity phenotypes in preschool-age children. Pediatr Obes. 2019;14(9):e12530. DOI: 10.1111/ijpo.12530. PMID: 30972961
  • Hammons, A.J., Hannon, B.A., Teran-Garcia, M., Barragan, M., Wiley, A., Fiese, B. Effects of Culturally Tailored Nutrition Education on Dietary Quality of Hispanic Mothers: A Randomized Control Trial. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2019; 51(10):1168-1176. DOI: 10.1016/j.jneb.2019.06.017. PMID: 31375361.
  • Hannon, B.A., Teran-Garcia, M., Nickols-Richardson, S.M., Musaad, S.M., Villegas, E., Hammons A., Wiley, A.R., Fiese, B.H. Abriendo Caminos team. Implementation and Evaluation of the Abriendo Caminos Program: A Randomized Control Trial Intervention for Hispanic Children and Families. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2019; 51(10):1211-1219. DOI: 10.1016/j.jneb.2019.08.011. PMID: 31706460.
  • Villegas, E., Galvez-Ortega, K., Wiley, A., Teran-Garcia, M., Fiese, B. H., & Abriendo Caminos Team. Environmental Factors Influencing Physical Activity Among Latino Families: A Cross-country Comparison. J. Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities. 2020;7(3):528-38. DOI: 10.1007/s40615-019-00681-x. PMID: 31863308.
  • Brown, A. W., Kaiser, K. A., Keitt, A., Fontaine, K., Gibson, M., Gower, B. A., Shikany, J. M., Vorland, C. J., Beitz, D. C., Bier, D. M., Brenna, J. T., Jacobs, D. R., Jr., Kris-Etherton, P., Maki, K., Miller, M., St-Onge, M. P., Teran-Garcia, M., & Allison, D. B., Science dialogue mapping of knowledge and knowledge gaps related to the effects of dairy intake on human cardiovascular health and disease. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2020; 1-17. Epub2020/02/20. DOI: 10.1080/10408398.2020.1722941. PubMed PMID: 32072820; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC7434715.
  • Acevedo, M. B., Teran-Garcia, M., Bucholz, K. K., Eagon, J. C., Bartholow, B. D., Burd, N. A., Khan, N.A., Rowitz, B., & Pepino, M. Y. Alcohol sensitivity in women after undergoing bariatric surgery: a cross-sectional study. Surg Obes Relat Dis. 2020;16(4):536-544. DOI: 10.1016/j.soard.2020.01.014 PubMed PMID: 32075778; PMCID: PMC7141947.
  • Hannon, B.A., Robinson, K.N., Rowitz, B., Oliphant, U., Donovan, S.M., Teran-Garcia, M. Preoperative weight control strategies impact patients’ postoperative outcomes. Bariatric Times. 2020; 17(2):12–13.
  • Hannon, B.A., Edwards, C.G., Thompson, S.V., Burke, S. K., Burd, N.A., Holscher, H.D., Teran-Garcia, M, Khan, N.A. Genetic variants in lipid metabolism pathways interact with diet to influence blood lipid concentrations in adults with overweight and obesity. Lifestyle Genom. 2020;13(6):155-163. doi: 10.1159/000507021. PMID: 33105144.
  • Hannon, B.A., Edwards, C.G., Thompson, S.V., Reeser, G.E., Burd, N.A., Holscher, H.D., Teran-Garcia, M., Khan, N.A. Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms Related to Lipoprotein Metabolism Are Associated with Blood Lipid Changes following Regular Avocado Intake in a Randomized Control Trial among Adults with Overweight and Obesity. J Nutr. 2020;150(6):1379-1387. DOI: 10.1093/jn/nxaa054. PMID: 32195538.
  • Amengual J, Coronel J, Marques C, Aradillas-García C, Morales JMV, Andrade FCD, Erdman JW, Teran-Garcia M. β-Carotene Oxygenase 1 Activity Modulates Circulating Cholesterol Concentrations in Mice and Humans. J Nutr. 2020;150(8):2023-30. DOI:10.1093/jn/nxaa143. PMID: 32433733.
  • Hammons AJ, Villegas E, Olvera N, Greder K, Fiese B, Teran-Garcia M. The Evolving Family Mealtime: Findings from Focus Group Interviews with Hispanic Mothers. JMIR Pediatr Parent. 2020. DOI: 10.2196/18292. PMID: 32576547.
  • Hammons, A. J., Olvera, N., Teran-Garcia, M., Villegas, E., & Fiese, B. Mealtime resistance: Hispanic mothers: perspectives on making healthy eating changes within the family. Appetite. 2021. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2020.105046. PMID: 33227381.
  • Kroeger, C.M.; Ejima, K.; Hannon, B.A.; Halliday, T.M.; McComb, B.; Teran-Garcia, M.; Dawson, J.A.; King, D.B.; Brown, A.W.; Allison, D.B. Persistent confusion in nutrition and obesity research about the validity of classic nonparametric tests in the presence of heteroscedasticity: evidence of the problem and valid alternatives. Am J Clin Nutr 2021, 113, 517-524, doi:10.1093/ajcn/nqaa357. PMID: 33515017
  • Aguayo, L., Ogolsky, B., Teran-Garcia, M., Pineros-Leano, M., Wiley, A., Lin, J., Aguirre-Pereyra, R. & Schwingel, A. From culture to chromosomes: A mother-child dyadic study of acculturation, telomere lengths and body fat. Comprehensive Psychoneuroendocrinology, 2021:5; 100029. DOI: 10.1016/j.cpnec.2021.100029
  • Liu R., Hannon, B.A., Robinson, K.N., Raine, L.B., Hammond, B.R., Renzi-Hammond, L., Cohen, N.J., Kramer, A. F., Charles, H.G., Teran-Garcia, M., Khan, N.A. Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms in CD36 are Associated with Macular Pigment among Children. Accepted J Nutr. 2021;151(9):2533-2540. doi: 10.1093/jn/nxab153. PMID: 34049394
  • Aradillas-García, C., Monreal-Escalante, E., Vargas-Morales, J.M., Alegría-Torres, J., Rosales-Méndoza, S., Terán-García, M., Portales-Pérez, D.P. Serum IL-17, obesity, and metabolic risk in Mexican young adults. RESPYN Revista Salud Pública y Nutrición. 2021; 20 (3):1-7.
  • Santos-Calderón, L.A.; Vargas-Morales, J.M.; Sánchez-Armáss Capello, O.; Terán-García, M.; Cossío-Torres, P.E.; Vidal-Batres, M.; Fernandez-Ballart, J.D.; Aradillas-García, C. Association between birthweight, cardiovascular risk factors, and depression in young Mexican adults. Nutr Hosp 2021, 38, 833-838, doi:10.20960/nh.03547. PMID: 34120446
  • Olvera, N.; Hammons, A.J.; Teran-Garcia, M.; Plaza-Delestre, M.; Fiese, B. Hispanic Parents’ Views of Family Physical Activity: Results from a Multisite Focus Group Investigation. Children 2021, 8, 740. PMID: 34572172

Recent Courses Taught

  • HDFS 494 (FSHN 499) - Hispanic Health Promotion
  • MCB 436 - Global Biosecurity