- Professor, Vet Med: Anatomy, Physiology and Cell Biology
I am an integrative physiologist with training in neurophysiology and gastrointestinal physiology. My research focuses on understanding the mechanisms by which the vagal afferent pathway (the gut-brain axis) transmits information about gut luminal contents to the brain to regulate alter gut physiology and feeding behavior. My research program is aimed at understanding how these pathways are altered in metabolic disease including obesity and type 2 diabetes, and how the gut-brain pathway contributes to altered food intake and metabolism. Recently, the research in the laboratory has elucidated the alterations in gut microbiota and intestinal permeability in rodent models of obesity and how this may drive changes in signaling in the gut-brain pathway. We have an active and funded collaboration with the Milk Bioactives Program (Food for Health Initiative, UC Davis) to help elucidate the interactions between probiotic bacteria with prebiotic substances in milk, and how this interaction produces bacterially-derived factors that are beneficial to the host and that mediate the beneficial effects of probiotic bacteria.