Comparative Nutrition and Nutrigenomics

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Comparative Nutrition and Nutrigenomics

Our laboratory uses genomic biology to study nutrition-related problems in the areas of 'obesity' and 'intestinal health'.  Both comparative and applied nutrition research projects are performed in our laboratory, including those studying human subjects, dogs, cats, and animal models (e.g., rodents).

A primary aim of our laboratory is to study the gastrointestinal microbiota and how they are impacted by environmental factors and host age.  DNA-based techniques [e.g., quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR);  454-pyrosequencing; Illumina sequencing] are currently being used. Current projects are testing how diet (e.g., protein: carbohydrate ratio; prebiotics; novel fibers; resistant starch) manipulate the fecal microbiome and how age (e.g., youth vs. adults vs. geriatrics) impacts the oral and/or fecal microbiome.  

Another primary area of research pertains to energy homeostasis and obesity. In addition to measuring gut peptide response to dietary manipulation, molecular techniques such as DNA microarrays, qRT-PCR, and RNA-Seq are used to identify mechanisms or metabolic pathways affected in key metabolic tissues.  Adipose and skeletal muscle tissues play important roles in energy homeostasis and glucose and lipid metabolism and are the focus of several ongoing projects.

Recent Press

Smaller meals more times per day may curb obesity in cats

Is pet ownership sustainable?  

Molecular techniques are man's new best friend in pet obesity research

Scientist seeks help in learning about digestive microbes

Dietary fiber alters gut bacteria, supports gastrointestinal health

Kittens:  their microbiomes are what they eat

Researchers use pyrosequencing to study canine intestinal bacteria