Martha Field
Martha Field
Assistant Professor
Division of Nutritional Sciences

113 Savage Hall


I am an Assistant Professor in the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University. I received a B.S. in chemistry from Butler University in 2000 and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Molecular and Cell Biology from Cornell University in 2007. 



My laboratory studies gene-nutrient interactions that lead to development of disease.  It is clear that what we eat can be associated with disease onset, and some individuals are more likely to be affected based on certain genetic, or inherited, characteristics.  We investigate these interactions at a molecular level, with the ultimate goal of designing interventions that prevent disease and improve human health.  

Impaired folate-dependent one-carbon metabolism is associated with adverse physiological outcomes that include certain cancers, cardiovascular disease, neurological impairments, and birth defects.  Our laboratory uses several in vitro and in vivo model systems to study the mechanisms that underlie physiological outcomes associated with perturbed one-carbon metabolism. More specifically, we are interested in understanding the contributions of folate and/or vitamin B12 nutrition and enzyme localization in supporting mitochondrial DNA precursor synthesis, with a focus on understanding how folate nutrition affects mitochondrial DNA integrity and pathogenesis of metabolic diseases such as mitochondrial DNA depletion syndromes, chronic disease, and age-related decline in mitochondrial function. 

Recently, our research has also focused on the metabolism of erythritol, which is a product of the pentose phosphate pathway and which has recently emerged as a predictive biomarker of weight gain, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.  We have identified the enzymes responsible for endogenous production of erythritol and are currently using animal models to understand the metabolic pathways underlying the association between erythritol exposure, genetic variants that affect endogenous erythritol synthesis, and central adiposity.

Selected Publications:

  • Fiddler, J.L., Xiu, Y., Blum, J.E., Lamarre, S.G., Phinney, W.N., Stabler, S.P., Brosnan, M.E., Brosnan, J.T., Thalacker-Mercer, A.E., and Field, M.S. (2021) Reduced Shmt2 expression impairs mitochondrial folate accumulation and respiration, and leads to uracil accumulation in mouse mitochondrial DNA. J. Nutr., In press.
  • Ortiz, S.R. and Field, M.S. (2021) Chronic dietary erythritol exposure elevates plasma erythritol level in mice but does not cause weight-gain or modify glucose homeostasis.  J. Nutr., In press.
  • Field, M.S., Mithra, P., and Pena-Rosas, J.P.  (2021) Wheat flour fortification with iron and other micronutrients for reducing anaemia and improving iron status in populations.  Cochrane Database of Scientific Reviews, January 2021.
  • Gheller, B.J., Blum, J.E, Lim, E.W., Handzlik, M.K., Fong, E.H.H., Ko, A.C., Khanna, S., Gheller, M.E., Bender, E.L., Alexander, M.S., Stover, P.J., Field, M.S., Cosgrove, B.D., Metallo, C.M., Thalacker-Mercer, A.E. (2020)  Extracellular serine and glycine are required for mouse and human skeletal muscle stem and progenitor cell function. Mol. Metab., 43: 101106.
  • Maruvada, P., Stover, P.J., Mason, J.B., Bailey, R.L., Davis, C.D., Field, M.S., Finnell, R.H., Garza, C., Green R., Gueant. J-L., Jacques, P.F., Johnston, B., Klurfeld, D.M., Lamers, Y., MacFarlane, A., Miller, J.F., Molloy, A.M., O’Connor, D.L., Pfeiffer, C.M., Potischman, N.A., Rodricks, J.V., Rosenberg, I.H., Ross, S.A., Selhub, J., Shane, B., Stabler, S.P., Trasler, J.,  Yamini, S., and Zappalà, G. (2020) Knowledge gaps in understanding the metabolic and clinical effects of excess folates/folic acid: a summary, and perspectives, from an NIH workshop.  Amer. J. Clin. Nutr., 112: 1390-1403
  • Stover, P.J., Garza, C., Durga, J., and Field, M.S.  (2020) Emerging Concepts in Nutrient Needs. J. Nutr., 150, Supp 1, 2593S-2601S.
  • Xiu, Y. and Field, M.S., (2020) The Roles of Mitochondrial Folate Metabolism in Supporting Mitochondrial DNA Synthesis, Oxidative Phosphorylation, and Cellular Function.  Curr. Dev. Nutr., 4:  nzaa153.
  • Field, M.S., Mithra, P., Estevez, D., and Pena-Rosas, J.P.  (2020) Wheat flour fortification with iron for reducing anaemia and improving iron status in populations.  Cochrane Database of Scientific Reviews, July 2020.
  • Ortiz, S.R. and Field, M.S. (2020) Mammalian Metabolism of Erythritol, a Predictive Biomarker of Metabolic Dysfunction.  Curr. Opin. Clin. Nutr. Metab. Care, 23:  296-301.
  • Lachenauer, E.R., Stabler, S.P., Field, M.S. and Stover, P.J. (2020) p53 Disruption Increases Uracil Accumulation in DNA of Murine Embryonic Fibroblasts and Leads to Folic Acid–Nonresponsive Neural Tube Defects in Mice.  J. Nutr., 150:  1705-1712.
  • Schlicker, L., Szebenyi, D.M.E., Ortiz, S.R., Heinz, A., Hiller, K., and Field, M.S. (2019) Unexpected roles for ADH1 and SORD in catalyzing the final step of erythritol biosynthesis.  J. Biol. Chem., 294, 16095-16108.
  • Chon, J., Field, M.S., and Stover, P.J. (2019) Deoxyuracil in DNA and disease:  genomic signal or managed situation?  DNA Repair, 77:  36-44.
  • Tiani, K.A., Stover, P.J., and Field, M.S. (2019) Nutrition and the blood-brain barrier.  Ann. Rev. Nutr., 39:  147-173.
  • Misselbeck, K., Marchetti, L., Priami, C.,  Stover, P.J., and Field, M.S. (2018) An extended hybrid-stochastic model of folate-mediated one-carbon metabolism: 5-formyltetrahydrofolate futile cycle regulates de novo purine synthesis and reduces pathway stochasticity.  Sci Rep., 9:  4322.
  • Garza, C., Stover, P.J., Ohlhorst, S.D., Field, M.S., Steinbrook, R., Rowe, S., Woteki, C., and Campbell, E., (2019)  Best practices in nutrition science to earn and keep the public’s trust.  Amer. J. Clin. Nutr., 0:  1-19.
  • Alonzo, J.R., Venkataraman, C., Field, M.S., and Stover, P.J.  (2018) The mitochondrial inner membrane protein MPV17 prevents uracil accumulation in mitochondrial DNA.  J. Biol. Chem., 293:  20285-20294.
  • Lan, X., Field, M.S., and Stover, P.J. (2018) Cell Cycle Regulation of Folate-Mediated One-Carbon Metabolism.  Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Systems Biology and Medicine, 10:e1426.
  • Field, M.S., Kamynina, E., Chon, J., and Stover, P.J. (2018) Nuclear Folate Metabolism.  Ann. Rev. Nutr., 38:  219-43.
  • Field, M.S., Lan, X., Stover, D.M., and Stover, P.J. (2018) Uridine modifies tumorigenesis in the ApcMin/+ model of intestinal cancer.  Curr. Dev. Nutr., 2:  nzy013
  • Field, M.S. and Stover, P.J. (2017) Safety of folic acid.  Ann. NY Acad. Sci., 1414:  59-71.
  • Stover, P.J., Durga, J., and Field, M.S. (2017) Folate and blood-brain barrier dysfunction.  Curr. Opin. Biotechnol., 44:  146-152.
  • Palmer, A.M., Kamynina, E., Field, M.S., and Stover, P.J. (2017) Folate rescues vitamin B12 depletion-induced inhibition of nuclear thymidylate biosynthesis and genome instability.  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 114:  E4095-4102 
  • Kamynina, E., Lachenauer, E., DiRisio, A.C., Liebenthal, R.P., Field, M.S., and Stover, P.J. (2017) Arsenic trioxide targets MTHFD1 and SUMO-dependent nuclear de novo thymidylate biosynthesis.  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 114:  E2319-E2326.
  • Misselbeck, K., Marchetti, L., Field, M.S., Scotti, M., Priami, C.,  and Stover, P.J. (2017) A hybrid stochastic model of folate-mediated one-carbon metabolism: Effect of the common C677T MTHFR variant on de novo thymidylate biosynthesis.  Sci Rep., 11:  797.
  • Bae, S., Chon, J., Field, M.S., and Stover, P.J. (2017) Alcohol dehydrogenase 5 is a source of formate for de novo purine biosynthesis in HepG2 cells.  J. Nutr., 147:  499-505.
  • Chon, J., Stover, P.J., and Field, M.S. (2017) Targeting Nuclear Thymidylate Biosynthesis.  Molecular Aspects of Medicine, 53:  48-56.
  • Stover, P.J., Berry, R.J., and Field, M.S. (2016) Time to think about nutrient needs in chronic disease.  JAMA Internal Medicine, 176:  1451-1452
  • Field, M.S., Stover, P.J., and Kisliuk, R. (2016) Thymidylate Synthesis.  In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd: Chichester. DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0001397.pub3
  • Field, M.S., Kamynina E., Watkins, D., Rosenblatt, D.S., Stover, P.J. (2016) MTHFD1 regulates nuclear de novo thymidylate biosynthesis and genome stability.  Biochimie, 126: 27-30.
  • Field, M.S., Kamynina E., Watkins, D., Rosenblatt, D.S., Stover, P.J. (2015) New insights into the metabolic and nutritional determinants of severe combined immunodeficiency.  Rare Diseases, 3: 1, e1112479.

I served as a member of the writing group for a committee from the American Society for Nutrition (ASN) in producing a report on best practices to facilitate collaboration between academia, industry, and government that ensures rigorous research conduct and transparency between all parties and the public.   This report was recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.  In addition, I am currently a member of ASN's Committee on Advocacy and Science Policy and continue to engage with this group in developing conflict of interest standards for the ASN.





I am currently the instructor for NS3320, “Methods in Nutritional Sciences,” a required course for Nutritional Sciences majors. This laboratory-based course introduces students to the principles and analytical techniques used in nutritional sciences and aims to help students develop skills in data analysis, data interpretation, and scientific writing in addition to mastering basic laboratory techniques that are most relevant to nutrition.  

I also supervise undergraduate students in independent research courses including NS4010, and BIO2990.  



NS3320: Methods in Nutritional Sciences

NS4010: Empirical Research (Independent Undergraduate Research)

BIOG2990 : Independent Undergraduate Research

BIOG4990: Independent Undergraduate Research

2007, Ph.D., Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology, Cornell University

2000, B.S., Chemistry, Butler University

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