Stella L Volpe, PhD, RD, LD/N, FACSM
Adjunct Professor

Contact Information
University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-4217

Stella L. Volpe is a nutritionist and exercise physiologist whose work on obesity and diabetes prevention, body composition, bone mineral density, and mineral metabolism and exercise represent more than a decade of consistent funding. Dr. Volpe has recently begun to research the effects of environmental changes to prevent obesity, providing a “passive intervention” to avert the obesity epidemic occurring in the United States and throughout the world.
Prior to beginning her faculty appointment in January 2004 at the University of Pennsylvania, she was on faculty at the University of Massachusetts from 1994 through 2003. Dr. Volpe left Penn in December 2010 to become Professor and Chair of the Department of Nutrition Sciences at Drexel University.
Dr. Volpe is a Core Member of the Biobehavioral Research Center, an Associated Faculty Member of the Center for Health Equity Research and the Center for Integrative Science in Aging, all in the School of Nursing; an Associate Scholar in the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics and an Associate Faculty Member in the Graduate Program in Public Health, and co-director of the Institute for Diabetes, Obesity & Metabolism, all in the School of Medicine. She is also a Faculty Fellow in the Penn Institute for Urban Research, a Senior Fellow in the Center for Public Health Initiatives, and a Senior Fellow in the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at Penn.

While at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Volpe taught Nursing 376, Issues in Nutrition, Exercise and Fitness, where students learned about the science of nutrition and exercise by critically analyzing research in the area of nutrition and sport. Dr. Volpe also taught Nursing 517: Advanced Nutrition and Metabolism, where students learn about the biochemistry of nutrition; Nursing 54: Principles of Human Nutrition and Nursing 112: Nutrition: Science and Application, where students learned the basics of nutrition science. She also guest lectures in a number of Nursing courses each semester.

Dr. Volpe’s research revolves around the effects of the environment on obesity – both how the environment can be changed to prevent obesity, and how the environment has resulted in a more obese nation and world. Her interventions include changing portion sizes in cafeterias and making physical activity more a part of a person’s day to implement changes in behavior. Dr. Volpe is also studying the effect of a low-impact exercise program on weight loss in elderly African American women. Dr. Volpe is presently conducting a randomized controlled trial on the effect of magnesium on the metabolic syndrome. Dr. Volpe is a Faculty member of the Physiology of the Body Compartment Fellowship Program in the Department of Neuroscience, Human Nutrition and Food at the Universita Degli Studi “Tor Vergata”, Roma, Italia. Dr. Volpe was additionally selected to be a member of the Executive Committee for the International Doctoral Degree in Physiology and Nutrition at the University Degli Studi "Tor Vergata", Roma, Italia.

• Currently Funded Grants

• Center for Health Equity Research
• Center for Integrative Science in Aging
• Center for Biobehavioral Research


This is a 3-year term. Individuals were nominated and only a select few were chosen to be on the Science Board.

• Honors/Awards Details »

Publications (select year)
2014  | 2013  | 2012  | 2011  | 2010  | 2009  | 2008  | 2007  | 2006  | 2005  |
2004  | 2003  | 2002  | 2001  | 2000 and Prior  | In Press  | More Publications 

Nutrition science and exercise science have always been a natural combination for me. Combining my knowledge in both areas to conduct research in obesity prevention, thyroid hormone function improvement, and osteoporosis prevention has been motivating and challenging. The environmental, applied, and molecular research that is occurring here at Penn, and throughout the world, will help to advance these sciences and result in better health outcomes for our nation and the world.