Hedley C. Freake

Professor and Undergraduate Program CoordinatorPicture of Professor Emeritus Freake

Office:   R.E. Jones Building (JONS) Room 208
Phone:  (860) 486-1704
Email:    hedley.freake@uconn.edu


    • 1983-86 – Fellowship in Molecular Endocrinology, Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota
    • 1979-83 – Ph.D. degree in Physiology, Royal Postgraduate Medical School, University of London
    • 1976-79 – B.Sc. degree in Nutrition, first class honours, Queen Elizabeth College, University of London

Professional Experience

    • 2002-present – Professor of Nutritional Sciences, University of Connecticut
    • 2012-15 – Faculty Director, Global House Living Learning Community, University of Connecticut
    • 2009-10 – Fulbright Scholar in General Education, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong
    • 1994-2002 – Associate Professor of Nutritional Sciences and Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Connecticut
    • 1988-94 – Assistant Professor of Nutritional Sciences and Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Connecticut
    • 1983-88 – Postdoctoral Fellow and Research Associate in the laboratory of Dr. Jack Oppenheimer, Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota
    • Research Associate in the laboratory of Professor Iain MacInytre, Royal Postgraduate Medical School, University of London

Other Scholarly Activities

    • 2017-18 – Chair, Senate Executive Committee, University of Connecticut
    • 2017-18 – Member, Senate Executive Committee, University of Connecticut
    • 2015-2017 – Chair, Senate Scholastic Standards Committee, University of Connecticut
    • 2014-2016 – NEASC Accreditation Committee, University of Connecticut
    • 2014-present – Student Support Services Advisory Board
    • 2013-2017 – Chair, Global Studies Major Planning Committee, University of Connecticut
    • 2013-2017 – Global Affairs Advisory Board, University of Connecticut
    • 2012-2017 – Chair, International Programs Committee, College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources, University of Connecticut
    • 2011-14 – Committee of Three, University of Connecticut
    • 2011-15 – Chair, University Interdisciplinary Courses Committee, University of Connecticut
    • 2010-2016 – Departmental Academic Advisor, General Education Centre, Hong Kong Polytechnic University
    • 2008-9 – Chair, Senate Executive Committee, University of Connecticut
    • 2008-12 – Minority Affairs Committee, American Society for Nutrition
    • 2006-09, 2010-13 – Member Senate Executive Committee, University of Connecticut
    • 2005-12. Director, STRONG-CT, Science and Technology, Reaching Out to New Generations in Connecticut program.
    • 2004-07 – Chair, General Education Oversight Committee, University of Connecticut
    • 2003-2004 – Chair, Faculty Staff Mentoring Committee, University of Connecticut
    • 2003-2005 – Editorial Advisory Board, Encyclopedia of Human Nutrition
    • 2001 – Co-organizer, FASEB Summer Conference on Molecular Mechanisms of Regulation by Dietary Constituents, Saxtons River , VT
    • 2000-2005 – American Society for Nutritional Sciences, Long Range Planning Committee. Chair 2001-2004.
    • 2000 – Chairperson, USDA subcommittee for FASEB Consensus Conference on Federal Funding for Biomedical and Related Life Science Research FY2002
    • 1999-2000 – Chair, Nutrient-Gene Interaction Research Interest Section, American Society for Nutritional Sciences
    • 1998-2004 – Editorial Board, Journal of Nutrition
    • 1998-2001 – Contributing Editor, Nutrition Reviews
    • 1998-present – University Senate


    • 2016 – University of Connecticut American Association of University Professors Award for Service Excellence
    • 2015 – University of Connecticut Provost’s Award for Distinguished Service
    • 2013 – University of Connecticut College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Alumni Association Teaching Award
    • 2009/10 – Fulbright Scholar in General Education, Hong Kong Polytechnic University
    • 2009 – University of Connecticut Outstanding Undergraduate Advisement and Advocacy Award
    • 2006 – University of Connecticut Vice-Provost for Multicultural and International Affairs Diversity Award

Teaching Interests

At the undergraduate level, I currently teach NUSC 1167 Food Culture and Society, an introductory course taken by a wide range of students, which uses food as a vehicle to explore issues of diversity.  It examines social, cultural and economic factors affecting food intake and nutritional status of different populations around the world.  It includes both historical examination of food behaviors as well as contemporary topics, such as hunger in the USA, the effects of globalization and the role of animals in the human diet.

At the graduate level, I teach NUSC 5100 Concepts of Nutrition, which is required of all entering graduate students. Its prime goal is to introduce nutrition as a research discipline. The course also serves to introduce the new students to each other and to an unfamiliar academic environment. The very active participation of all students is expected and occurs.

A second graduate course, NUSC 6313 Nutrition and Gene Expression is co-taught with Ji-Young Lee. It is offered in the fall semester of odd numbered years. The course introduces students to the world of molecular biology and discusses the latest findings in the area of molecular nutrition research.

A general philosophy that guides my approach to teaching is a belief that all students are inherently intelligent. My job is to assist them with the academic skills required for the accessing and thoughtful evaluation of information, which leads to successful learning experiences both in the class and beyond.

Courses currently taught


    • NUSC 1166 – Honors Colloquium in Nutrition
    • NUSC 1167 – Food, Culture and Society
    • NUSC 4237W – Writing in Nutritional Sciences
    • UNIV 1810 – Nutritional Sciences Learning Community
    • UNIV 1995 – East Meets West: the Pearl River Delta. Study Broad Trip May 2014


    • NUSC 5100 – Concepts of Nutrition
    • NUSC 6313 – Nutrition and gene expression

Research Interests

While currently not active in laboratory research, my prior efforts used molecular approaches to address questions of nutritional significance. One area focused on the regulation of long chain fatty acid synthesis by hormones and diet, in particular thyroid hormones and dietary carbohydrate. A second area relates to the trace mineral zinc, which is implicated in the pathway by which several hormones, including thyroid hormone, regulate gene expression. Initial studies examined the influence of zinc status on thyroid hormone action and then moved to a broader investigation of zinc homeostasis and action. Of specific interest are the differences between normal and cancerous cells in their homeostatic responsive to zinc deprivation.


Recent journal articles

    • McGonagle AK, Freake HC, Zinn SA, Bauerle T, Winston J, Lewicki G, Jehnings M, Khan-Bureau D, Philion M. Evaluation of STRONG-CT: A Program Supporting Minority and First-Generation Science Students. J STEM Educ. 15, 52-61, 2014.
    • Sankavaram K, Chong L, Bruno RS, Freake HC. Zinc status alters growth and oxidative stress responses in rat hepatoma cells. Nutr Cancer 66:104-16, 2014.
    • Grattan BJ, Freake HC. Zinc and cancer: implications for LIV-1 in breast cancer.  Nutrients 4:648-75, 2012.
    • Sankavaram K, Freake HC. The effects of transformation and ZnT-1 silencing on zinc homeostasis in cultured cells. J Nutr Biochem. 23;629-634, 2012.
    • Dutta A, Sankavaram K, Chong L, Palermo A, Michel RG, Freake HC . Rapid homeostatic response of H4IIE cells to diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid is not due to changes in the amount or localization of ZnT-1 protein. Nutr Res 31:404-11, 2011.
    • Pasiakos SM, Vislocky LM, Carbone JW, Altieri N, Konopelski K, Freake HC, Anderson JM, Ferrando AA, Wolfe RR, Rodriguez NR. Acute energy deprivation affects skeletal muscle protein synthesis and associated intracellular signaling proteins in physically active adults. J Nutr. 140:745-51, 2010.
    • Dutta A, Schaller M, Franco AT, Sankavaram K, Grattan BJ, Freake HC. Zinc retention differs between primary and transformed cells in response to zinc deprivation.  J Nutr Biochem. 21:162-70, 2010.
    • Lee M-S, Park J-Y, Freake HC, Kwun I-S and Kim Y.  Green tea catechin enhances cholesterol 7α-hydroxylase gene expression in HepG2 cells. Brit J Nutr 99:1182-1185, 2008.
    • Torres-Gonzalez M, Shrestha S, Sharman M, Freake HC, Volek JS, Fernandez ML.  Carbohydrate restriction alters hepatic cholesterol metabolism in guinea pigs fed a hypercholesterolemic diet. J Nutr. 137:2219-23, 2007.
    • Shrestha S, Freake HC, McGrane MM, Volek JS, Fernandez ML.  A Combination of Psyllium and Plant Sterols Alters Lipoprotein Metabolism in Hypercholesterolemic Subjects by Modifying the Intravascular Processing of Lipoproteins and Increasing LDL Uptake.  J Nutr. 137: 1165-70, 2007.
    • Aggarwal D, Freake HC, Soliman GA, Dutta A, Fernandez ML.  Validation of using gene expression in mononuclear cells as a marker for hepatic cholesterol metabolism.  Lipids Health Dis. 15:22, 2006.

Recent book chapters

    • Freake, Hedley and Godfrey, Phoebe. Feeding Community: A Case Study of a Shared-use Commercial Kitchen in Eastern Connecticut. In: Feeding Cities; Improving Local Food Access, Security and Resilience. Bosso, C, ed. Routledge, New York, pp113-128, 2016.
    • Freake Hedley. Eating Hong Kong. In: Reading Hong Kong, Reading Ourselves. Curry J and Hanstedt P, eds. City University of Hong Kong Press, 2014.
    • Freake Hedley   Zinc: Physiology, Dietary Sources and Requirements. In: Encyclopedia of Human Nutrition, 3rd edition. Editors Benjamin Caballero, Lindsay Allen and Andrew Prentice.  Elsevier, 2013.
    • Freake HC. Curricular Designs for General Education at the UGC-Supported Universities in Hong Kong.  In: General Education and the Development of Global Citizenship in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Mainland China: not Merely Icing on the Cake. Xing J, Ng PS and Cheng C, eds. Taylor and Francis, Oxford, UK, pp105-120, 2012.
    • Pearce EN and Freake HC. Iodine. In: Biochemical, Physiological and Molecular Aspects of Human Nutrition. 3rd edition.  Stipanuk M and Caudill M, eds.  Elsevier, St Louis, MO, pp 849-866.  2012.

Selected older papers

    • Lim NC, Freake HC and Bruckner C.  Illuminating zinc in biological systems.  Chem Eur J 11, 38-49, 2005.
    • Zeisel SH, Freake HC, Bauman DE, Bier DM, Burrin DG, German JB, Klein S, Marquis GS, Milner JA, Pelto GH, Rasmussen KM. The nutritional phenotype in the age of metabolomics. J Nutr. 135, 1613-6, 2005.
    • Sciaudone MP, Yao L, Schaller M, Zinn SA and Freake HC. Diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid enhances thyroid hormone action by a transcriptional mechanism. Biological Trace Element Research. 99, 219-231, 2004.
    • Lim, N. C., Yao, L., Freake HC. and Brückner, C., Synthesis of a fluorescent chemosensor suitable for the imaging of zinc(II) in live cells. Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett. 13, 2251-2254, 2003.
    • Pelto GH and Freake HC. Social research in an integrated science of nutrition: future directions. J Nutr. 2003 Apr;133(4):1231-4.
    • Moon YK and Freake HC. Nutritional and hormonal regulation of lipogenesis in rat white and brown adipocytes. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol. 49, 40-46, 2003.
    • Freake HC, Govoni KE, Guda K, Huang C and Zinn SA. Actions and interactions of thyroid hormone and zinc status in growing rats. J Nutr,131, 1135-1141, 2001.
    • O’Callaghan B, Koo S-H, Wu Y, Freake HC and Towle HC. Glucose regulation of the acetyl-coA carboxylase PI promoter in rat hepatocytes. J Biol Chem, 276, 16033-16039, 2001.
    • Sciaudone M, Chattopadhyay S and Freake HC.  Chelation of zinc amplifies induction of growth hormone mRNA levels in cultured rat pituitary tumor cells.  J Nutr 130, 158-163, 2000.
    • Kim T-S, Leahy P and Freake HC.  Promoter usage determines tissue specific responsiveness of the rat acetyl-CoA carboxylase gene.  Biochem Biophys Res Commun 225, 647-653, 1996.
    • Freake HC and Oppenheimer JH.  Thermogenesis and thyroid function.  Ann Rev Nutr 15, 263-292, 1995.
    • Blennemann B, Kim T-S, Leahy P and Freake HC.  Tissue specific regulation of lipogenic mRNAs by thyroid hormone.  Mol Cell Endocrinol 110,1-8, 1995.
    • Yeh W-J, Leahy P and Freake HC.  Regulation of brown adipose tissue lipogenesis by thyroid hormone and the sympathetic nervous system.  Am J Physiol  265, E252-E258, 1993.
    • Freake HC, Schwartz HL and Oppenheimer JH.  The regulation of lipogenesis by thyroid hormone and its contribution to thermogenesis.  Endocrinology 125, 2868-2874, 1989.
    • Freake HC, Oppenheimer JH.  Stimulation of mRNA-S14 and lipogenesis in brown fat by hypothyroidism, cold exposure and cafeteria feeding; evidence supporting a general role for S14 in lipogenesis and lipogenesis in the maintenance of thermogenesis.  Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 84, 3070-3074, 1987.

Recent Funding

Bridging the Gap: Summer Experiential Learning in Food and Nutrition.
2/1/16-1/31/19. USDA-AFRI $275,746.

Multicultural Scholars in Food and Nutrition.
1/1/09-12/31/13. USDA Higher Education Multicultural Scholars Program. $164,000.

STRONG-CT, Science and Technology, Reaching Out to New Generations in Connecticut.
10/1/05-9/30/10.  NSF-STEP $1,999,905.  C0-PIs Damon Williams, Eleanor Weseloh, Diba Khan-Bureau and Melissa Philion.

Cellular zinc transport.
10/1/10-9/30/13.  USDA/Hatch.  $35,000 (approx).