Title

Linking the Obese Phenotype with the Microbial Composition of the Animal Gut

Presenter Information

Katie Kuehn

Department

Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Major

Environmental Engineering

Research Advisor

Oerther, Daniel B.

Advisor's Department

Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Funding Source

Mathes Endowed Chair

Abstract

Obesity in the United States has become the number one cause of morbidity and mortality with 33% of the adult population and 17% of children demonstrating an obese phenotype. Traditional approaches to combat obesity suggest that improved diet and exercise will result in weight loss. Growing evidence points to an alternative hypothesis, namely that environmental determinants interact with the microbial populations in the human gut resulting in chronic low level inflammation that produces fatty tissues. To explore this hypothesis, this study documents the correlation among the Western diet, the obese phenotype, and the composition of the microbial communities in samples removed from the guts of experimental animals. Sequencing of 16S rRNA genes was used as a measure of microbial community composition. The preliminary results of this study support the hypothesis that environmental determinants play a role in the obesity epidemic.

Biography

Katie was raised in St. Louis Missouri and received a first B.S. degree in Biology in 2009 from Saint Louis University. She came to Rolla in 2011 to complete a second B.S. degree in Environmental Engineering. Her expected graduation date is May 2013.

Research Category

Sciences

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Document Type

Poster

Location

Upper Atrium/Hallway

Presentation Date

10 Apr 2012, 9:00 am - 11:45 am

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Apr 10th, 9:00 AM Apr 10th, 11:45 AM

Linking the Obese Phenotype with the Microbial Composition of the Animal Gut

Upper Atrium/Hallway

Obesity in the United States has become the number one cause of morbidity and mortality with 33% of the adult population and 17% of children demonstrating an obese phenotype. Traditional approaches to combat obesity suggest that improved diet and exercise will result in weight loss. Growing evidence points to an alternative hypothesis, namely that environmental determinants interact with the microbial populations in the human gut resulting in chronic low level inflammation that produces fatty tissues. To explore this hypothesis, this study documents the correlation among the Western diet, the obese phenotype, and the composition of the microbial communities in samples removed from the guts of experimental animals. Sequencing of 16S rRNA genes was used as a measure of microbial community composition. The preliminary results of this study support the hypothesis that environmental determinants play a role in the obesity epidemic.