Research Interests

Sphingolipid dependent host-microbe interactions

Sphingolipids are potent bioactive signaling molecules that are produced by both mammals and some of the the beneficial microbes that colonize the mammalian gut.  Beneficial microbes are known to have an effect on host health but the mechanisms defining these processes are not well understood.  Our lab is dedicated to characterizing the effects that microbe produced lipids have on host signaling pathways involved in lipid metabolism, insulin signaling, and cell proliferation.  Together this work should give us a greater understanding on how beneficial microbes contribute to protection against the related diseases of obesity, diabetes, and cancer.

Sphingolipids in human milk and the development of the infant microbiome

Sphingolipids have the potential to affect the growth of beneficial gut microbes and are a significant component of the lipid content in human milk.  Our lab is interested in understanding how the sphingolipid content in early infant nutrition is involved in shaping the infant gut microbiome.