Richard Melvin, PhD

Assistant Professor, Medical School, Duluth Campus

Richard Melvin

Contact Info

Office Phone 218-726-8807

Office Address:
Department of Biomedical Sciences
Rm 359
1035 University Drive
Duluth, MN 55812

Assistant Professor, Medical School, Duluth Campus

Department of Biomedical Sciences

PhD, Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

MS, Plant Biology, University of Minnesota

BS, Biology, University of Minnesota

BA, Chemistry, University of Minnesota


Awards & Recognition

2010- National Institutes of Health, Ruth L. Kirschtein National Research Sevice Award Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship. 1F32DK084718-01A1


Research Summary/Interests

I am interested in the interaction between genes and the nutrient environment and how this interaction influences the health and fitness of populations. The goal of my current research is to understand why some populations can thrive on an unbalanced diet while others show decline in health and fitness. To do this I use biochemistry, physiology, life history traits, and population genetics to study structured populations of dietary specialist and dietary generalist Drosophila flies.


See full list of publication at: PubMed

Aw, W.C., Garvin, M.R., Melvin, R.G., Ballard, J.W.O. 2017. Sex-specific influences of mtDNA mitotype and diet on mitochondrial functions and physiological traits in Drosophila melanogaster. PLoS One 12:e0187554.

Melvin, R.G., Ballard, J.W.O. 2017. Cellular and population level processes influence the rate, accumulation and observed frequency of inherited and somatic mtDNA mutations. Mutagenesis 32: 323-334.

Fountain, T., Melvin, R.G., Ikonen, S., Ruokolainen, A., Woestmann, L., Hietakangas, V., Hanski, I. 2016. Oxygen and energy availability interact to determine flight performance in the Glanville fritillary butterfly. Journal of Experimental Biology 15: 1488-1494.

LeCouteur, D.G., Tay S.S., Solon-Biet, S., Bertolino, P., Mcmahon, A.C., Cogger, V.C., Colakoglu, F., Warren, A., Holmes, A.J., Pichaud, N., Horan, M., Correa, C., Melvin, R.G., Turner, N., Ballard, J.W., Ruohonen, K., Raubenhiemer, D., Simpson, S.J. 2014. The influence of macronutrients on splanchnic and hepatic lymphocytes in aging mice. Journal of Gerontology Series A: Biological and Medical Sciences. 70: 1499-1507.

Solon-Biet, S., Mcmahon, A.C., Ballard, J.W., Ruohonen, K., Wu, L.E., Cogger, V.C., Warren, A., Huang, X., Pichaud, N., Melvin, R.G., Gokarn, R., Khalil, M., Turner, N., Cooney, G.J., Sinclair, D.A., Raubenhiemer, D., LeCouteur, D.G., Simpson, S.J. 2014. The ratio of macronutrients, not caloric intake, dictates cardiometabolic health, aging and longevity in ad libutum-fed mice. Cell Metabolism 19: 418-430.

Hampton, M., Melvin, R.G., Andrews, M.T. 2013. Transcriptomic analysis of brown adipose tissue across the physiological extremes of natural hibernation. PLoS One 8:e85157.

Cogger, V.C., Svistounov, D., Warren, A., Zykova, S., Melvin, R.G., Solon-Biet, S.M., O’Reilly, J.N., McMahon, A.C., Ballard, J.W., De Cabo, R., LeCouteur, D.G., Lebel, M. Liver aging and pseudocapillarization in a Werner syndrome mouse model. Journal of Gerontology Series A: Biological and Medical Sciences. 69: 1076-1086.

Horan, M.P., Rumbley, J.N., Melvin, R.G., LeCouteur, D.G., Ballard, J.W.O. 2013. Quaternary protein modeling to predict the function of DNA variation found in human mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase. Journal of Human Genetics 58: 127-134.

Correa, C.C., Aw, W.C., Melvin, R.G., Pichaud, N., Ballard, J.W.O. 2012. Mitochondrial DNA variants influence mitochondrial bioenergetics in Drosophila melanogaster. Mitochondrion 12:459-64.

Hampton, M., R.G. Melvin, Kendall, A.H., Kirkpatrick, B.R., Peterson, N., Andrews, M.T. 2011. Deep sequencing the transcriptome reveals seasonal adaptive mechanisms in a hibernating mammal. 2011. Plos One 6: e27021.

R.G. Melvin and J.W.O. Ballard. 2011. Females with a mutation in a nuclear encoded mitochondrial protein pay a higher cost of survival than do males in Drosophila. Journal of Gerontology Series A: Biological and Medical Sciences 66: 765-770.

Ballard, J.W.O. and R.G. Melvin. 2010. Early life benefits and later life costs of a two-amino acid deletion in Drosophila simulans. Evolution 65: 1400-1412.

Ballard, J.W.O., R.G. Melvin, M. Lazarou, F.J. Clissold, S.J. Simpson. 2010. Cost of a naturally occurring two-amino acid deletion in cytochrome c oxidase subunit 7A in Drosophila simulans. American Naturalist 176: E98-E108.

Ballard, J.W.O. and R.G. Melvin. 2010. Linking the mitochondrial genotype to the organismal phenotype. Molecular Ecology 19: 1523-1539.

Melvin, R.G. and M.T. Andrews. 2009. Torpor induction in mammals: Recent discoveries fueling new ideas. Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism 20: 490-498.

Melvin, R.G., S.D. Katewa and J.W.O. Ballard. 2008. A candidate complex approach to study functional mitochondrial DNA changes: Sequence variation and quaternary structure modeling of Drosophila simulans cytochrome c oxidase. Journal of Molecular Evolution 66: 232-242.

Van Voorhies, W.A., R.G. Melvin, J.W.O Ballard and J. B. Williams. 2008. Validation of manometric microrespirometers for measuring oxygen consumption in small arthropods. Journal of Insect Physiology. 54: 1132-1137.

Ballard, J.W.O., R.G. Melvin, and S.J. Simpson. 2008. Starvation resistance is positively correlated with body lipid proportion in five wild caught Drosophila simulans populations. Journal of Insect Physiology. 54: 1371-1376.

Melvin, R.G., W.A. Van Voorhies and J.W.O. Ballard. 2007. Working harder to stay alive: Metabolic rate increases with age in Drosophila simulans but does not correlate with life span. Journal of Insect Physiology 53: 1300-1306.

Ballard, J.W.O., R.G. Melvin, J.T. Miller and S.D. Katewa. 2007. Sex differences in survival and mitochondrial bioenergetics during aging in Drosophila. Aging Cell 6: 699-708.

Ballard, J.W.O., R.G. Melvin, S.D. Katewa and K. Maas. 2007. Mitochondrial DNA variation is associated with measurable differences in life history traits and mitochondrial metabolism in Drosophila simulans. Evolution 61: 1735-1747.

Ballard, J.W.O. and R.G. Melvin. 2007. Tetracycline treatment influences mitochondrial metabolism and mtDNA density two generations after treatment in Drosophila. Insect Molecular Biology 16: 799-802.

Ballard, J.W.O., S.D. Katewa, R.G. Melvin and G. Chan. 2007. Comparative analysis of mitochondrial genotype and aging. In Healthy Aging and Longevity, Annals of the NY Academy of Science 1114: 93-106.

Melvin, R.G. and J.W.O Ballard. 2006. Intraspecific variation in survival and mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation in wild caught Drosophila simulans. Aging Cell 5: 225-233.