Location: Audie Murphy VA, Room A314


Geriatrics, Gerontology & Palliative Medicine
San Antonio GRECC, South Texas Health Care System

Monica Serra, PhD

Associate Professor
Research Health Scientist

Personal Statement:

I have a broad background in nutrition, obesity, and exercise physiology. I am a research investigator in the Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatrics, Gerontology & Palliative Medicine and the Sam and Ann Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies at UTHSCSA, as well as at the Audie L. Murphy VA Hospital with the San Antonio Geriatrics Research, Education and Clinical Center (GRECC). I am a Registered Dietitian and Certified Athletic Training, collaborating with an interdisciplinary team to design, conduct, and analyze randomized controlled trials focusing on the clinical application of lifestyle interventions in the prevention and treatment of obesity, chronic disease, and disability in older adults.


2003BSAthletic TrainingDuquesne University
Pittsburgh, PA
2005MSNutritionCase Western Reserve University
Cleveland, OH
2009PhDExercise, Nutrition, and Preventive HealthBaylor University
Waco, TX


The long-term goal of Dr. Monica C. Serra’s research is to better understand the mechanisms by which lifestyle interventions, such as exercise training and nutritional modification, can optimize health in older adults. A main focus of her research is on the effects of intentional weight loss and exercise training on body composition, cardiometabolic fitness, and diabetes risk in overweight older adults. Additionally, her research involves the development of rehabilitation protocols to reduce fatigue and improve quality of life and muscle metabolism in older adults with chronic disease and disability.


All Publications

Selected Publications:

1.Serra MC, Treuth MS, Ryan AS. Dietary Prescription Adherence and Non-structured Physical Activity Following Weight Loss with and without Aerobic Exercise. The Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging, 2014, Vol 18, No 10: pp 888-93.
2.Serra MC, Hafer-Macko CE, Ivey FM, Macko RF, Ryan AS. Impact of Serum Nutritional Status on Physical Function in African American and Caucasian Stroke Survivors. Stroke Research and Treatment, 2014, Vol 2014: pp 1-7.
3.Serra MC, Ryan AS, Sorkin JD, Favors KH, Goldberg AP. High Adipose LPL Activity and Adipocyte Hypertrophy Reduce Visceral Fat and Metabolic Risk in Obese, Older Women. Obesity, 2015, Vol 23, No 3: pp 602-7.
4.Serra MC, Ryan AS, Goldberg AP. Reduced LPL and Subcutaneous Lipid Storage Capacity are Associated with Metabolic Syndrome in Postmenopausal Women with Obesity. Obesity Science & Practice, 2016, Vol 3, No 1: pp: 106-114.
5.Serra MC. The Importance of Assessing Nutritional Status to Ensure Optimal Recovery during the Chronic Phase of Stroke. Stroke Research and Treatment, 2018, Vol 2018: pp:1-8.
6.Ryan AS, Serra MC, Goldberg AP. Metabolic Benefits of Prior Weight Loss with and without Exercise on Subsequent Six Month Weight Regain. Obesity, 2018, Vol 26, No 1: pp: 37-44.
7.Serra MC, Ryan AS, Ortmeyer HK, Addison O, Goldberg AP. Resistance Training Reduces Inflammation and Fatigue and Improves Physical Function in Older Breast Cancer Survivors. Menopause, 2018, Vol 25, No 2: pp: 211-216.
8.Serra MC, Accardi CJ, Ma C, Park Y, Tran V, Jones DP, Hafer-Macko CE, Ryan AS. Metabolomics of Aerobic Exercise in Chronic Stroke Survivors: A Pilot Study. Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases, 2019, Vol 28, No 12: pp 104453.
9.Serra MC, Beavers DP, Henderson R, Kelleher JL, Kiel J, Beavers KM. Effects of a Hypocaloric, Nutritionally Complete, Higher Protein Meal Plan on Regional Body Fat and Cardiometabolic Biomarkers in Older Adults with Obesity. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, 2019, Vol 74, No 2: pp 149-155.