Graduate Students

Hannah Allen

I joined IG as an undergraduate in the Fall of 2007 and graduated in the Spring of 2010 with a degree in Food Science and Human Nutrition. My involvement and experience with IG inspired me to continue research on a graduate level. I began the Ph.D. program in Nutritional Sciences in the Fall of 2010. My research interests include elucidating the mechanism, metabolic changes, and long term effects of KT and so I work closely with the KetoGator team. I work with the Carnitine team because my research interests also include developing the preterm piglet model in order to reach our future goal of preventing neonatal seizures. The translation of information from the bench side (lab) to improving patient care is an important practice that Dr. Borum's lab is focused on. After I graduate I hope to continue my career in academia and pursue research in translational science.  

Abstracts

EB 2012 Abstract (1)

EB 2012 Abstract (2)

EB 2012 Abstract (3)

CNW 2012 Abstract

EB 2011 Abstract

EB 2010 Abstract

Contact Information
(352) 392-1991 ext.247
hjallen@ufl.edu

Dylan Lennon

I joined Dr. Borum’s research group as an undergraduate freshman at the University of Florida. During that time, I became involved in an ongoing clinical trial of a dietary therapy (Ketogenic Therapy) for seizures that Dr. Borum’s group has conducted for more than 20 years. My undergraduate research training also included work on a translational piglet model for neonates, which we published as a resource for other investigators. After graduating with a degree in Microbiology and Cell Science, I joined Dr. Borum’s group as a graduate student.

Broadly, I am interested in understanding the metabolic basis for nutritional therapy effects on chronic disease, with a focus on the neonatal period. My dissertation project, “Macronutrient Modulation of the Metabolome and Microbiome During the Neonatal Period,” uses high-throughput molecular tools and clinical experience from the patient study to understand metabolic changes induced by Ketogenic Therapy (KT).

Based on experience with this patient population, I am using a piglet model to further examine metabolic changes that underpin intervention with ketogenic therapy. My approach is to apply three -omic methods that will each provide a window into the interrelationships of diet, gut microbiota, and metabolism. In collaboration with other graduate students in the lab, I developed a tool that translates the “Nutrition Facts Information” into a long list of chemicals which has allowed us to define the dietary intake of patients on KT in terms of a chemical profile. The result is a large dataset for each patient that we have termed “Foodomics.” I am using this tool to guide a study in piglets that will examine the influence of diet and KT on the metabolome and microbiome. Since diet has such a profound impact on metabolism in patients with epilepsy, examining the metabolic roles of gut microbiota is an important aspect of this work in piglets.Together, metabolomics and microbiomics methods can provide unprecedented resolution on the changes in biochemical and microbial profiles. With an ability to collect invasive samples in the piglet that cannot be systematically collected in humans, metabolic influences of diet-host-microbe interactions can be tightly linked to their source within the gut. 

Together, these data will ultimately provide a neonatal reference for diet-induced metabolic changes on KT, and will lay the foundation for better personalization of the therapy for pediatric patients with epilepsy.

Contact Information
(352) 392-1991 ext. 247
dlennon@ufl.edu

Jurate Lukosaityte

In Fall 2010, I was invited to join the KetoGator team in the InvestiGators Research Honors Society. It was there that I discovered my research interests lie in nutrition. My undergraduate research experience prepared me for the doctoral program in Nutritional Sciences. I developed skills in research planning, data collection, data analysis, and presentation of research in oral and written formats.

I worked with Dr. Borum, students, and healthcare professionals to study the effects of ketogenic therapy on pediatric patients with intractable epilepsy. I attended clinic visits within the General Clinical Research Center at Shands Hospital to meet our patients and collect data. Through this process, I became fascinated by the significant role that nutrients have in a brain disorder such as epilepsy.

Learning these valuable communication skills in a professional setting prepared me to present the laboratory's research at the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) in 2012. I presented an abstract titled, "Evaluation of nutrient intake of patients on ketogenic therapy: a pilot study". I gained experience in sharing my research with the scientific community on a national level.

Since this abstract, I have continued to address questions related to this research. I completed a thesis within the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) Honors Program: Dyslipidemia: Comorbidity during Ketogenic Therapy for Intractable Seizures (2013). As a graduate student, I plan to further incorporate the aspect of diet composition that was presented at FASEB. I will study the role that specific diet composition has on dyslipidemia and response in this patient population. I plan to further explore areas of needed research within Ketogenic Therapy by combining clinical and translational research.

Contact Information
(352) 392-1991 ext.247
jurate162001@ufl.edu

 

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Dr. Peggy R. Borum
University of Florida
FSHN Department
P. O. Box #110370
Gainesville, FL 32611-0370

409A FSHN Bldg
Newell Drive
UF Campus

prb@ufl.edu
Phone: 352-392-7553
Fax: 352-392-8957

 

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