Discover novel biomarkers for the development of insulin resistance. Investigate the relationship between sphingolipid metabolism and insulin resistance. Develop novel technologies to modify insulin action and enhance milk production. Evaluate involvement of lipoproteins in liver-adipose tissue cross-talk during insulin resistance. Assess the efficacy of nutritional interventions to minimize metabolic disease risk.
My research program uses a mass spectrometry-based lipidomics approach to profile metabolites in multiple biological matrices collected in various physiological states. We strive to comprehensively characterize the lipidome in pregnant and lactating cows and humans. Our goals are to understand (1) the mechanisms that mediate insulin antagonism and nutrient partitioning with a focus on the role of fatty acid processing and the sphingolipid ceramide, (2) the mechanisms that limit VLDL-TAG secretion during fatty liver with a focus on glycerophospholipid synthesis, and (3) the ability of fatty acids to modify the efficacy of methyl donors to increase phosphatidylcholine synthesis and liver lipid export. Currently, we are developing new nutritional and pharmacological technologies to modify insulin action in dairy cattle. We are testing the ability of methyl donors to increase hepatic phosphatidylcholine synthesis to mitigate fatty liver disease. In collaboration, we are actively screening the human plasma lipidome to identify novel biomarkers for type 2 diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Ongoing dairy science and biomedical research is supported by federal, state, and industry awards.
Awards and Honors
- Cargill Animal Nutrition Young Scientist Award (2019) ADSA
- ASAS-ADSA Northeast Young Scientist Research Award (2018) ASAS-ADSA
- Outstanding Recent Alumni Award (2018) Virginia Tech
- First Place -Graduate Student Paper Contest in Dairy Production (2009) National Milk Producers Federation Award – American Dairy Science Association