Research

Below are some of the ideas and projects I’ve worked on:

Increased resolution of food intake and microbiome
My Ph.D. was focused on technology development to “triangulate” publicly available data on food composition to determine molecular compositions of brand-name foods prescribed to patients receiving dietary therapy for epilepsy – termed “foodomics“. This evolved from and built on data-collection efforts I was part in years prior, and was in the Metabolic Assessment Laboratory of Peggy Borum. I also focused on creation of a map of microbial biogeography using neonatal piglets as a model for healthy, term human neonates. This was done in the Piglet Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of Peggy Borum and in collaboration with Gary Wang. This work was presented at Experimental Biology and American Society for Microbiology conferences.

University of Florida Precision Ketogenic Therapy Research Program (UF PKTRP)
At the UF PKTRP, I attended 400+ outpatient and inpatient nutrition therapy assessment appointments over the span of 9 years at the University of Florida Clinical Research Center with a team of graduate students and a dietitian, led by PI Peggy Borum. I was responsible for collecting and analyzing anthropometric data, dietary intake data, and clinical labs to determine nutritional status. As part of the UF PKTRP, I created, planned, and tracked meal plans and diets to provide calorie, macronutrient, and micronutrients needed for growth and seizure control. I prepared research blood samples for plasma and RBC metabolomics studies. I also wrote a modification to the IRB-01 study to include stool collection from patients to allow for future analysis of diet-induced effects on gut microbiota.

Piglet Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
A colleague and I co-authored a paper with our mentor about experiences developing and using a piglet NICU, or PNICU. At the time, the piglet was underappreciated for its usefulness as a model of the human neonate. Since the time of publishing, the piglet has become well-respected for its use as an animal model in biomedical research, and several descriptions of the piglet genome and microbiome have been published in addition to development of gnotobiotic models and “humanized” pigs.

Chemical composition of medical nutrition therapy for chronic disease
This project began as large, coordinated bioinformatics effort taken on by the lab to figure out how to handle, organize, store, and track dietary intake data with daily to weekly sampling at the patient-level collected as part of a large retrospective and prospective study. The formatted data became substrate for my eventual graduate-level work that resulted in a tool to analyze the molecular level variation in dietary intake of patients prescribed nutrition therapy. This work was presented at Experimental Biology, American Society for Nutrition, and the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition conferences.