Department of Plant Biology & Pathology
Botanical approaches for combating metabolic syndrome
Characterization of physiological events leading to the bloom of Akkermansia muciniphila upon supplementation of grape polyphenols to a high-fat diet. A. muciniphila has been associated with metabolic resilience and has been shown to bloom after introduction of polyphenols into the diet, however, the mechanism for this bloom and preceding changes in the luminal environment remain unknown. My research focuses on chemical changes in the lumen of the gastrointestinal tract stimulated by polyphenols that may provide a more hospitable environment for beneficial bacteria and prevent or treat inflammation-related dysbiosis.
Funding Source: NIH National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health T32 Postdoctoral Fellowship
Department of Food Science
The Pennsylvania State University
Physicochemical modification of gliadin by dietary polyphenols and the potential implications for celiac disease
Exploration of commonly consumed polyphenols of varying molecular structure on their ability to interact with an immunostimulatory gluten peptide. This work features characterization of intermolecular interaction from both the through a variety of biophysical techniques as well as evaluation of the biological implications of these interactions on a celiac disease cell model. It was determined that polyphenols interact with gliadin proteins to form insoluble complexes with reduced ability to stimulate the intestinal permeability and inflammation associated with celiac disease in vitro.
Techniques: nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, protein purification, circular dichroism, dynamic light scattering, differential scanning calorimetry, cell culture
Funding Source: USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Predoctoral Fellowship
Processing-induced changes in wine quality
Investigation of the removal of volatile aromatic compounds from wine as a result of the addition of fining agents before or after fermentation. Particular respect is paid to improving wine with defects (aromatic or visual) and weighing the cost versus benefit of these treatments for the winemaker.
Projects: Investigation of a novel polymer-based fining system for the removal of 2-aminoacetophenone from V. viniferawines; Effect of pre- and post-fermentation fining with polyvinylpolypyrrolidone on the aromatic profile of Moscato wine
Techniques: Winemaking, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, gas chromatography-flame ionization detection
Funding Source: Pennsylvania Wine Marketing & Research Board
Department of Animal Science
University of Connecticut
Reverse electron transport effects on NADH formation and metmyoglobin reduction
This work focused on the manipulation of environmental and biochemical conditions affecting muscle foods to preserve desirable color during storage by reducing metmyoglobin. It was found that the supplementation of succinate and inhibition of complex III of the electron transport chain provides conditions that support the production of NADH, which is able to reduce metmyoglobin.
Techniques: UV-vis spectrophotometry, mictochondria extraction, mitochondria oxygen consumption measurement
Funding Source: UConn Office of Undergraduate Research - Summer Undergraduate Research Fund
Factors affecting chemical and physical stability of beef during storage
Metmyoglobin oxidation and lipid oxidation were studied in beef as a function of time under various storage conditions including modified atmosphere packaging and biochemical supplementation (pyruvate, succinate).
Techniques: Lipid oxidation measurement, protein quantification, colorimetry