“Prevention is so much better than healing because it saves the labor of being sick.”
Develop integrated dietary and microbial tools for obesity and cancer prevention
The focus of our research group is understanding the relationship between diet and the microbiome in obesity and obesity-associate cancers, specifically colon cancer. Our goals are to 1) identify the dietary factors that modify the microbiome and their contribution obesity and colon cancer, 2) elucidate the key mechanisms controlling microbiota-host communication, and 3) develop microbial classifiers that improve stratification of patients for colon cancer treatment. Ultimately, our goal is to discover dietary factors and microbial targets for the development of clinical tools to prevent colon cancer development, and reduce morbidity and mortality from colon cancer.
Our laboratory resides within the Family and Consumer Sciences Department, which is housed within the Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences. We are one of the fastest growing colleges at Baylor University for graduate student degrees. As part of our connection to the Departments of Biology and Chemistry, we have access to animal facilities, microscopy core and one of the largest mass spectrometry centers in the state. Our lab also maintains two bioinformatic pipelines for the analysis of 16S rRNA sequencing, shotgun sequencing, or RNA-seq on our Cray CS400 Supercomputer. Through our collaboration with Drs. Joseph Petrosino and Garth Ehrlich, we have excellent resources to conduct metagenomic sequencing and analysis. Other key collaborators include, Drs. James White, Cindy Sears, Anne-Marie Krachler, Rob Britton, Noah Shroyer, Marie Walther-Antonio, Curt Harris, Nick Chia, and Jun Chen. We are especially grateful for our clinical collaboration with Dr. Lucas Wong, GI oncologist at Baylor Scott and White Health.
If you are interested in joining the lab we are always looking for self-motivated, dedicated, and jovial individuals. We like to train and mentor young scientists at all levels, undergrad, graduate, and postdoctoral. If you are interested in our masters program in nutrition or our joint PhD program with Health, Human Performance and Recreation, please apply through our graduate program. We also take rotation students through the Biology PhD program. We are always happy to talk about our research and how you might fit into our group.