As an early-career investigator and a K99 awardee my primary research interests are centered around the Genetics of Dietary Intake as a common nutrigenomic theme to learn more about diet’s impact on human health, with an emphasis on cardiometabolic diseases.
Unhealthful dietary intake is a leading risk factor for cardiometabolic diseases and mortality both in the U.S. and globally. Under the scientific premise that almost all human traits are influenced by genetic variation, my research harnesses the power of genetics as a tool to elucidate diet’s role in human health. Dietary intake is influenced by human genetic variation, acting independently and in concert with other heritable traits. Some loci contain genes with direct influences on diet, like olfactory receptors linked to fruit intake and enzymes that metabolize milk or alcohol, while others act indirectly on diet through factors such as socioeconomic status and body mass index. Recent advent of large-scale biobanks and cohorts with genetics and nutrition data make the genomic analysis of dietary intake possible. Together with a variety of computational and statistical genomics approaches, my research has three over-arching goals:
- Improve dietary phenotypes both informed by and to inform genetic analysis
- Decipher the environmental and biological mechanisms influencing dietary intake
- Study nutrition in the context of human health and medicine