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M.P.H. Public Health Nutrition, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 2006 Ph.D. Animal Nutrition, Iowa State University, 2002 M.S. Nutritional Physiology and Animal Breeding, Iowa State University, 1997 I accept graduate students for Animal and Rangeland Sciences
This laboratory focuses on identifying biomarkers in humans and parallel animal models that are associated with colorectal and pancreatic cancer and can be modified by diet and dietary supplements, including micronutrients and polyphenols. Colorectal cancer is an important public health problem annually leading worldwide to over 0.5 million deaths and in the U.S. nearly 150,000 new cases and 50,000 deaths. Dietary change, both feasible and safe, represents a viable strategy for preventing colorectal cancer; however, dietary intervention trials often showed no protection. There is a need for biomarkers of exposure, risk, and response/efficacy to dietary interventions. Such biomarkers will provide crucial data to a) identify individuals at increased risk or early stages of colorectal carcinogenesis, b) measure compliance with dietary interventions, and c) predict individuals most likely to benefit from a long-term dietary intervention (i.e., personalized cancer prevention). In collaborations with researchers at the National Cancer Institute, Pennsylvania State University, Ohio State University, Texas A&M University, and Tufts, we have been using prospective NCI-funded human cohort and nutrition studies and link them to USDA and Tufts food data bases to identify diets and dietary components with promise of efficacious cancer prevention, most notable flavonols. For dietary components showing efficacy, we have been identifying biomarkers of exposure, risk, and early dietary response through parallel human intervention and animal model studies in serum, feces, and tissue, most notable interleukin 6. The functional significance of the identified molecular targets in carcinogenesis will be tested using cell culture and transgenic mouse studies. The goal is to use the identified molecular targets and biomarkers in clinical trials to test the efficacy of diets and dietary supplements for cancer prevention.
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