Prebiotics and probiotics

Amanda Ramer-Tait portrait

Amanda Ramer-Tait

Research interests in the Ramer-Tait laboratory center on the dynamic interactions between the mucosal immune system and intestinal microbial communities. Current research projects are aimed at understanding how host-microbial interactions in the gastrointestinal tract contribute to the pathogenesis of chronic, inflammatory diseases, including inflammatory bowel diseases and obesity. We are also intensively involved in research concerning the interactions among diet, the gut microbiota, and the immunological and metabolic health of the host. To study these complex relationships in vivo, we employ conventional flora, germ-free, and defined microbial community mouse model systems. We utilize approaches spanning the disciplines of cell biology, microbiology, and immunology to mechanistically interrogate the regulation of gastrointestinal homeostasis and inflammation.

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Robert Hutkins portrait

Robert Hutkins

The Hutkins Lab studies bacteria important in human health and in fermented foods. The lab is particularly interested in understanding how diet and dietary food components influence the bacteria that reside in the gastrointestinal tract. The main goal is to understand and predict how diet-induced shifts in the microbiota ultimately influence human and animal health. Specifically, the lab is focused on prebiotic fibers and how these food components are selectively metabolized by member of the microbiota. We have developed a novel strategy for combining prebiotic fibers with selected strains of probiotic bacteria to enhance establishment of those organisms in the gastrointestinal tract. We also conduct clinical studies to assess the effects of prebiotic and probiotic interventions on gut barrier functions and other health outcomes. Dr.

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