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Department of Nutritional Sciences

Phone: 814-867-3716


What unsolved research questions are currently under investigation in your laboratory?

  1. Determine the biological mechanisms underlying the cancer prevention effect of exercise, with a focus on understanding the role of the immune system in primary breast cancer prevention and in the prevention of metastases.
  2. Determine the dose, duration and frequency of exercise needed to achieve the protective effect of exercise on breast cancer risk and/or recurrence, and if an exercise-induced enhancement in antitumor immunity underlies this protective effect.
  3. Determine the combined and individual impact of negative energy balance (exercise and/or mild energy restriction) on immune function, in particular antigen-specific T cell responses, and pro-tumorigenic inflammatory responses.
  4. Determine the effect of obesity (and the inflammatory milieu created) on the emergence of immune suppressive cells (myeloid derived suppressor cells) and their role in breast and pancreatic tumor growth.
  5. Determine the effect of probiotic consumption on immune function, in particular on anti-inflammatory responses and on T cell responses to vaccination.

) What novel equipment and/or experimental models are currently in use in your research program?

  1. Transgenic and orthotopic mammary and pancreatic tumor models (murine).
  2. Cellular & molecular immunology techniques, e.g. quantification of cellular proliferation, cytokine production, cytotoxicity.
  3. Quantification of intracellular cytokine production and cell surface protein expression via flow cytometry.
  4. Cytokine/chemokine assays using various assay platforms, enzyme-linked, chemiluminescence, flow cytometry.
  5. Quantification of mouse running wheel activity.
  6. Measurement of body composition in mice by DEXA.
  7. Isolation of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and assessment of immune function and inflammatory mediators in human clinical trials.

Do you have a need for a collaborator on an ongoing or new project? If so, what type of expertise are you looking for?

  1. Expertise in the quantification of normal bone development and bone turnover.
  2. Expertise in mitochondrial function, in particular quantification of cellular energetic pathways (i.e. oxidative phosphorylation and beta oxidation).
  3. Expertise in implementation of human exercise intervention trials.
  4. Expertise in controlled feeding studies in humans.