Marla Lujan


Marla Lujan

Assistant Professor
216 Savage Hall
Phone: (607) 255-3153
View Cornell University Contact Info
Biographical Statement:

Marla Lujan received her Master of Science (2001) and Doctor of Philosophy (2005) in Physiology from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. She conducted her postdoctoral studies in Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan from 2005 to 2008. She became an Assistant Professor of Human Nutrition in the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University in 2008.

The Lujan laboratory investigates the link between nutrition, metabolism and fertility in women. Specific interests include elucidating mechanisms that to lead amenorrhea (loss of regular menstrual cycles) in  women as well as improving the diagnosis and treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome - a condition of impaired fertility that is tightly linked to insulin resistance and excess male hormone production. Her group uses high-resolution serial ovarian ultrasonography to charcterize follicle development during natural cycles in women with variable reproductive potential and metabolic profiles across the lifespan. By understanding the physiological mechanisms governing amenorrhea, the goal of her laboratory is to develop nutritional, lifestyle and pharmaceutical regimens that promote and preserve reproductive health in women.

Teaching and Advising Statement:

My goals for teaching are to design and administer an introductory Human Anatomy and Physiology course that provides students with a working knowledge of the major organ systems through experiential learning.  I am dedicated to developing and administering evaluation tools that fairly assess students on their knowledge of Human Anatomy and Physiology and challenge them to think more broadly about the application of knowledge in this discipline. Lastly, I strive to foster a classroom environment in which students trust and value their learning experience. As an advisor, my goals are to assist students in developing an educational program that is consistent with their career and personal goals. I work hard to provide accurate and timely information about programmatic requirements and to foster an environment in which students feel secure to discuss their interests, aptitudes and limitations.

Current Professional Activities:
  • Member, Cornell Graduate Field of Nutrition  
  • Member, Cornell Graduate Field of Molecular and Integrative Physiology  
  • Member, The Endocrine Society
  • Member, Androgen Excess and PCOS (AE-PCOS) Society
  • Member, American Society for Reproductive Medicine
  • Member, Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society
  • Member, Society for the Study of Reproduction
  • Member, American Society for Nutrition

Current Research Activities:

Role of nutrition, metabolism and body composition in ovarian follicle development, ovulation and fertility in women; Ultrasonographic, endocrine and cellular markers of impaired fertility in anovulatory disorders; Development of diagnostic criteria for PCOS; Development of reliable methods for sonographic assessment of ovarian morphology; Assessments of baseline dietary intake and physical activity in women with PCOS; Development of lifestyle regimens that facilitate weight loss and stimulate ovulation in women;

  • PhD 2005 - Queen's University, Physiology
  • MSc 2001 - Queen's University, Physiology
  • BScH 1998 - Queen's University, Life Sciences

Courses Taught:
  • NS 3420 Laboratory Studies for Human Anatomy & Physiology
  • NS 4030 Undergraduate Teaching Apprenticeship
  • NS 4010 Empirical Research
  • BIOG 2990/4990 Independent Research


Related Websites:

Lujan Lab Website

Selected Publications:
Christ JP, Vanden Brink H, Brooks ED, Pierson RA, Chizen DR, Lujan ME. Ultrasonographic features of polycystic ovaries relate to degree of reproductive and metabolic disturbance in polycystic ovary syndrome. Fertility and Sterility 2015, Jan 6.[Epub ahead of print]
Lin Aw, Lujan ME. Comparison of dietary intake and physical activity between women with and without polycystic ovary syndrome: a review. Advances in Nutrition 2014; 5: 486-496.
Clark NM, Podolski AJ, Chizen DR, Pierson RA, Lehotay DC, Lujan ME. Prevalence of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) phenotypes using updated criteria for polycystic ovarian morphology: an assessment of over 100 consecutive women self-reporting features of PCOS. Reproductive Sciences 2014; 21(8):1034-1043.

Dewailly D, Lujan ME, Carmina E, Cedars MI, Laven J, Norman RJ, Escobar Morreale HF. Definition and significance of polycystic ovarian morphology (PCOM): a task force report from the Androgen Excess and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (AE-PCOS) Society. Human Reproduction Update; Hum Reprod Update. 2014;20(3):334-52.

Christ JP, Willis AD, Brooks ED, Vanden Brink H, Jarrett BY, Pierson RA,Chizen DR, Lujan ME. Follicle number, and not assessments of the ovarian stroma, represents the best ultrasonographic marker of polycystic ovary syndrome. Fertility and Sterility 2014; 101(1):280-287.

Lujan ME, Peppin AK, Brooks ED, Reines JK, Jarrett BY, Pierson RA, Muhn N, Haider E, Chizen DR. Revised ultrasound criteria for polycystic ovary syndrome: reliable thresholds for elevated follicle population and ovarian volume. Human Reproduction 2013; 28(5):1361-8.

Lujan ME, Podolski AJ, Chizen DR, Lehotay DC, Pierson RA. Digit ratios by computer-assisted analysis confirm lack of anatomical evidence of prenatal androgen exposure in clinical phenotypes of polycystic ovary syndrome. Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology 2010, 8:156.

Lujan ME, Kepley AL, Chizen DR, Pierson RA, Development of morphologically dominant follicles is associated with fewer metabolic disturbances in amenorrheic women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynaecology 2010, 36(6):759-66.

Lujan ME, Brooks ED, Kepley AL, Chizen DR, Pierson RA, Peppin AK. Grid analysis improves reliability in follicle counts made by ultrasonography in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology 2010, 36(5):712-8.

Colwell MK, Lujan ME, Lawson KL, Pierson RA, Chizen DR. Surveying women’s perceptions of PCOS following participation in a clinical research study: implications for knowledge, feelings, and daily health practices. Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology Canada 2010; 32(5):453-9.

Lujan ME, Bloski TG, Chizen DR, Lehotay D, Pierson RA. Digit ratios do not serve as anatomical evidence of prenatal androgen exposure in clinical phenotypes of polycystic ovary syndrome. Human Reproduction 2010, 25(1):204-211.

Lujan ME, Chizen DR, Peppin AK, Dhir A, Pierson RA. Assessment of ultrasonographic features of polycystic ovaries is associated with modest levels of inter-observer agreement. Journal of Ovarian Research 2009; 2:6.

Mircea CN, Lujan ME, Singh J, Adams GP, Jaiswal R, Pierson RA. Imaging ovarian follicles and corpora lutea in the mouse using ultrasound biomicroscopy: a validation study. Reproduction, Fertility & Development 2009, 21:579-86.

Allaway HC, Bloski TG, Pierson RA, Lujan ME. Digit ratios determined by computer-assisted analysis are more reliable than those using physical measurements, photocopies, and printed scans. American Journal of Human Biology 2009, 21:365-70.

Lujan ME, Chizen DR, Pierson RA. Diagnostic criteria for polycystic ovary syndrome: pitfalls and controversies. Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology Canada 2008, 30(8):671-9.

Lujan ME, Chizen DR, Peppin AK, Leswick D, Kriegler S, Bloski TG, Pierson RA. Improving inter-observer variability in the evaluation of ultrasonographic features of polycystic ovaries. Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology 2008; 6(1):30.

Mircea CN, Lujan ME, Pierson RA. Metabolic Fuel and Clinical Implications for Female Reproduction. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada 2007; 29(11):887-902.

Searchable Keywords:
reproductive physiology
endocrinology and metabolism
menstrual cycle
polycystic ovary syndrome

The information on this bio page is taken from the CHE Annual Report.