Charles Brenner Charles Brenner, PhD
Chief Scientific Advisor

Dr. Charles Brenner is the Roy J. Carver Chair and Head of Biochemistry at the University of Iowa, as well as a founding co-director of the University of Iowa Obesity Initiative. In 2004, Brenner, then a faculty member at Dartmouth College, discovered nicotinamide riboside (NR) to be a vital precursor of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), which is made available by nicotinamide riboside kinases (Nrks) that are conserved between yeast and humans. In 2007, Dr. Brenner's lab discovered a second pathway by which NR is converted to NAD+ and showed that NR can extend the lifespan of yeast cells by virtue of elevating NAD+ levels and increasing the activity of the NAD+ dependent Sir2 enzyme. In the past decade, Dr. Brenner has made multiple seminal contributions to NAD+ metabolism, which include engineering a yeast strain to convert inexpensive NAD+ precursor vitamins into NR, identifying a high affinity NR transporter, solving the crystal structure of human Nrk1, and developing the methods for quantitative NAD+ metabolomics. Dr. Brenner's gene discoveries and characterization of the NAD+ metabolome have shed light on distinct pathways by which human cells utilize distinct NAD+ precursor vitamins. His lab continues to focus on characterizing the molecular mechanisms underlying NAD+ precursors and their impact on human health. Groups worldwide have added to Dr. Brenner's discoveries in providing evidence for unique properties of NR in neuroprotection, sirtuin activation, protection against weight gain on a high fat diet, and improvement of blood glucose and insulin sensitivity.