Dr. Shurson’s research includes several themes in nutrient recycling, improving nutritional efficiency, and systems biology. Best known for his extensive research on the benefits and limitations of corn distillers dried grains with solubles, he also works in the areas of determining the nutritional value and characteristics of rendered animal by-products, organic food waste, and using food and agricultural wastewater streams to produce microalgae for animal feed. His research in systems biology includes understanding and improving fiber utilization, the measurement and role of peroxidized lipids on animal health and performance, the role of phytate in phosphorus and nutrient utilization, alternatives to antibiotic growth promoters, feed safety, enteric health interventions, and biological effects of organic zinc.
Dr. Chen’s research interests involve mechanistic investigations on the metabolic changes induced by dietary, chemical, microbial, and pathophysiological challenges through a combination of mass spectrometry-based untargeted metabolomics and targeted metabolite analysis, stable isotope tracing, in vitro biochemical analysis, animal models, and human treatment interventions. He has extensive experience in untargeted global metabolite profiling as well as targeted metabolite analysis that includes both endogenous metabolites (lipids, amino acids, organic acids, aldehydes, ketones, and microbial metabolites) and exogenous metabolites (phytochemicals, pharmaceuticals, carcinogens, and their metabolites) in biofluids, digesta, feces and urine, tissues, and cell extracts.
Dr. Faulk’s research in epigenetics, evolution, nutrition, and environmental science is multi-scale with studies at the molecular genetic level in multiple organisms and human populations. His research goals are to identify environmentally induced epigenetic changes arising from dietary or toxicological exposure in early development that result in lifelong health consequences. He leverages the tools of evolutionary genomics, molecular genetics, and bioinformatics to discover inter-individual differences independent of underlying genetic polymorphisms. His lab encompasses the fields of nutrition, interspecies epigenetic evolution, and toxicant induced shifts to regions of heightened environmental plasticity. The rapid progress in next-generation sequencing, growing computational speed, data storage, increased non-model organism genome sequence availability, as well as advances in statistical analyses, allow his research program to address previously unanswerable questions.
Dr. Gomez’s lab studies the factors that shape the composition and function of the trillions of microbes that colonize animal, human and environmental surfaces: “the microbiome”. Dr. Gomez’s research applies a system-level view of microbes and the space they live in, using meta-OMIC techniques (metagenomics, metabolomics, transcriptomics), along with bioinformatic, machine learning and statistical tools. This approach is used to understand how the microbiome interacts with diverse animals, humans and the environment to impact physiology, nutrition, health and evolution. Dr. Gomez has appointments in both the animal science and food science and nutrition departments.
The goal of Dr. Saqui-Salces’ research is to understand how diet modulates the function of the gastrointestinal tract. Her studies are focused on the diet effects on the cell composition of the intestine, along with digestive and absorptive capacity. She also studies the mechanisms involved in intestinal sensing of food components, and how those luminal signals (food) mediate gut hormone secretion and participate in metabolic homeostasis.
Dr. Urriola has interests in a variety of research areas including: role of nutrition in sustainability of pork production systems; evaluation of novel feedstuffs and industrial co-products (especially distillers dried grains with solubles) focusing on energy, amino acids, phosphorus, and fiber; in vitro techniques for determining nutrient digestibility; understanding pathogen transmission and risk assessment of feed ingredients and feed systems; evaluating alternatives to growth promoting antibiotics; and management and control of infectious diseases.