Our research focuses on the clinical application of nutritional sciences in healthy and diseased populations across the lifespan with an overarching goal of improving human health through dietary modulation of the gastrointestinal microbiome.

Through the use of state-of-the-art sequencing technologies and bioinformatics tools we aim to understand the interplay of diet, the microbiome, and health and disease . Our long-term research goal is to bridge the gap in understanding of the impact of nutrition on the human gastrointestinal microbiome with an emphasis on targeted dietary interventions for disease treatment and prevention.

Clinical research studies in The Nutrition and Human Microbiome Laboratory include:

PATH: Persea americana for Total Health- The PATH Study is a research project aimed to study the relationship between diet, gut function, metabolism, and thinking ability.

EPOCH: Effects of Probiotics on Cognition and Health A study of how the gut microbiota responds to probiotics and prebiotics and how these changes affect behavior, cognition, and stress.

Gut-Brain- The study aims to investigate the interrelationship between cognitive function, metabolic health and the human gastrointestinal microbiota.

  • Taylor AM and Holscher HD. A review of dietary and microbial connections to depression, anxiety and stress. Nutritional Neuroscience. 2018. DOI: 10.1080/1028415X.2018.1493808.
  • Taylor AM, Thompson SV, Edwards CG, Musaad SMA, Khan NA, Holscher HD. Associations among diet, the gastrointestinal microbiota, and negative emotional states. Nutritional Neuroscience. 2019. DOI:10.1080/1028415X.2019.1582578

STREAM: Study of Timing and Rhythms in Eating Affecting the Microbiome- A retrospective examination of eating behaviors such as eating frequency, overnight fast duration, and energy distribution throughout the day and their impact on the gastrointestinal microbiome.

  • Kaczmarek JL, Thompson SV, and Holscher HD. Circadian rhythms, eating behaviors, and the gastrointestinal microbiota: complex interactions that may impact health. Nutrition Reviews. 2017; 75(9):673-682.  DOI: 10.1093/nutrit/nux036
  • Kaczmarek JL, Musaad S, and Holscher HD. Time of day and eating behaviors are associated with the composition and function of the human gastrointestinal microbiota. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2017; 106(5):1220-31. DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.117.156380

Almond, Walnut, Whole Grain and Broccoli Interventions- Randomized controlled trials assessing the impact of almonds, walnuts, whole grains and broccoli on the fecal microbiota conducted in partnership with the USDA Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center

  • Holscher HD, Guetterman H, Swanson KS, An R, Matthan NR, Lichtenstein AH, Novoty JA, Baer DJ. Walnut consumption alters the gastrointestinal microbiota, microbial-derived secondary bile acids, and health markers in healthy adults: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Nutrition. 2018 DOI: 10.1093/jn/nxy004
  • Holscher HD, Taylor AM, Swanson KS, Novoty JA, Baer DJ. Almond Consumption and Processing Affects the Composition of the Gastrointestinal Microbiota of Healthy Adult Men and Women. Nutrients. 2018; 10(2):126.  DOI:10.3390/nu1002012
  • Kaczmarek JL, Liu X, Charron CS, Novotny JA, Jeffery EH, Seinfried HE, Ross SA, Miller MJ, Swanson KS, and Holscher HD. Broccoli consumption affects the human gastrointestinal microbiota. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. 2019; 63: 27-34. . DOI: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2018.09.015

Formulating Intervention Trials for the GUT (FITGUT)- A randomized crossover trial looking at the impact of physical activity on the gastrointestinal microbiota in previously sedentary individuals.

  • Allen JM, Mailing LJ, Niemiro GM, Moore R, Cook MD, White BA, Holscher HD, Woods JA. Exercise-induced shifts in the gut microbiome and associated metabolites are dependent on obesity status. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2017. DOI: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001495
  • Niemiro GM, Allen JM, Mailing LJ, Khan NA, Holscher HD, Woods JA, De Lisio M. Effects of Endurance Exercise Training on Inflammatory Circulating Progenitor Cell Content in Lean and Obese Adults. Journal of Physiology. 2018. DOI:10.1113/JP276023

Fecal Microbiome Transplant Study- A multi-center longitudinal study investigating dietary predictors of fecal microbiota transplantation success in patients with Clostridium difficile infections conducted with Carle Hospital and OSF St. Francis Medical Center

Moving Toward Individualized Medicine: Understanding Dietary Predictors of the Human Gastrointestinal Microbiome- An evaluation of the complex interactions between dietary components, gastrointestinal bacteria, and bacterial metabolites conducted in collaboration with the Illinois Applied Research Institute

Mayo-Illinois Alliance Obesity Intervention- An intervention study investigating the effects of caloric restriction on the gastrointestinal microbiomes of overweight and obese adults

Retrospectively Studying the Effects of Early Life Nutrient Intake on Cognitive Function and Brain Health in Preadolescent Children (RETLU)- A retrospective study examining the effects of early life feeding methods on preadolescent brain health and cognitive function

  • Chojnacki MR,Holscher HD, Balbinot AR, Raine LR, Biggan JR, Walk AM, Kramer AF, Cohen NJ, Hillman CH, Khan NA. Relations between mode of birth delivery and timing of developmental milestones and adiposity in preadolescence: a retrospective study. Early Human Development. 2019; 129: 52-59. DOI:10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2018.12.021