Lesley T. MacNeil, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences
Office: HSC 4H17
Lab: HSC 3N11B
Using the nematode C. elegans as a model system, we investigate the mechanisms by which diet and microbiota influence health, development, disease susceptibility, and disease progression. Our research focuses on the identification and characterization of factors introduced through the diet or produced by microbiota that influence cellular metabolic and signal transduction pathways. We are particularly interested in identifying mechanisms through which these factors affect nervous system function and maintenance.
A second focus of our lab is the identification of gene-environment interactions. Environmental factors, such as diet and microbiota, can influence our health both positively and negatively. The impact of environment on disease severity may depend on interactions between genetic and environmental factors. We are employing high-throughput approaches to perform genome-scale mapping of gene-environment interactions to identify gene mutations that increase susceptibility to specific environmental factors. Through this unbiased approach we hope to identify previously unpredicted connections between microbiota, diet, and disease.