Microbiome and Nutrition

The complex community of bacteria, yeasts and viruses living in our intestines, collectively known as the gut microbiome, is shaped, in part, by what we eat. Genetics, environment, and other factors also influence an individual’s microbial community. Research at the NRI investigates these complex relationships and their impact on disease risk. We use animal models and bioinformatics to study the associations between nutritional metabolites, gut microbiome, and health. What happens in the gut doesn’t stay in the gut. Your microbiome can play a role in cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes, and even cancer. Our team envisions a future where analysis of your microbiome can determine disease risk, and medical foods can be prescribed to treat and prevent disease by regulating the microbiome.

Publications

 

Voruganti Publications

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The DNA Diet: How knowing your genes can help you fit into your jeans

May 28, 2019 – Most people have this basic understanding of genetics: You inherit genes from your parents, and their DNA combines to create your unique genetic makeup. This can include more obvious traits such as eye color and height but also more complex traits that may involve multiple genes, such as risk of diseases including diabetes, heart disease, obesity and cancer, as well as all aspects of metabolism.

Breaking the Link Between Obesity, Gastrointestinal Cancers

October 3, 2018 – UNC NRI’s and UNC Lineberger’s Stephen Hursting, PhD, MPH, along with Cornelia Ulrich, PhD, MS, the director of the Huntsman Cancer Institute’s National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, and colleagues, reviewed findings from research looking at the biological links between obesity and cancers of the colon, rectum, pancreas, liver, esophagus, gallbladder and stomach, as well as published studies on how diet, exercise, weight loss surgery, and other weight-related interventions may help reverse this connection.

Gut Microbiome, Diet and Health

March 28, 2018 – At the NRI, we are conducting pioneering research on the interplay of diet and the gut microbiome in human health. The gut microbiome is a complex community of microorganisms living in our lower intestine; although we have long known of its existence, recent technological advances have allowed us to begin to define the composition and function of this dynamic community. This growing body of research demonstrates vast biologic activity within the gut microbiota, which may have the potential to affect our physiology and help guide health recommendations and interventions.

July 2015

July 2015 SoundBites features: The “-omics” of Nutrient Metabolism, Research We’re Reading: Go with Your Gut, Summer Tours and Fall Events

Go With Your Gut: How a community of trillions affects your individual health

July 1, 2015 • Everyday we learn more about how the gut microbiome may influence health. Our gut microbial community—a super-organism, with trillions of members—has been associated with obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and immune disorders, and even moods. These findings have generated enormous enthusiasm among researchers and the lay public, as they suggest a largely untapped area for health-promoting interventions. One mechanism through which the gut microbiome may affect health is through the metabolism of food and nutrients.