Breann Abernathy is beginning her fourth year in the Nutritional Biochemistry PhD program at the University of Minnesota, working under Dr. Daniel Gallaher. Her research interests involve understanding the relationships between dietary constituents, such as phytochemicals and fibres, and the prevention of various diseases on a molecular level. Her work focuses on one of the primary objectives of the Gallaher laboratory: understanding how a novel dietary fibre can alter the gut microbiome and aid in the prevention of colon cancer, diabetes, obesity, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and metabolic syndrome in an animal model. This work aims to tease apart the underlying mechanisms and relationships between the diet, gut microbiome, and host disease states.
Breann has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Nutrition with a minor in Biology, and is carrying that interest through while pursuing a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry with a minor in Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology, & Genetics. In addition to her current work in the area of prebiotic dietary fibres and disease prevention, she has previously worked on studies involving vegetable groups and colon cancer prevention, and vitamin D and iron status in premenopausal women. Upon degree completion, she hopes to continue exploring her research in academia.
About her talk:
This talk will be the first formal unveiling of polylactose, a novel a dietary fibre that is being evaluated for prebiotic use. It will cover the results of an animal study investigating the efficacy of polylactose in altering the gut microbiome and aiding in glycemic control, decreasing adiposity, and preventing accumulation of lipids in the liver.