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Teresa Torres

Graduate Student, Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology

Nicholas Zachos (Thesis)

Maribeth Nicholson (Clinical)


My proposed thesis project focuses on understanding how alterations to host-microbe interactions of the intestinal tract may increase predisposition to noncommunicable diseases like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Specifically I am interested in understanding how early-life concurrent exposure to environmental triggers like a high-fat diet (HFD) and antibiotic treatments (Abx) alters the colonic microbiota increasing predisposition to IBD. Becoming a part of the VPMM program will allow me to explore other potential areas my project can delve into within the gastroenterology field. The focus of my project is unique as it aims to elucidate how environmental factors like HFD and Abx exposure affect children as their microbiota is developing and maturing. There is one experiment I would like to do before I graduate and that is to humanize gnotobiotic mice with fecal transplants of children who have had early life exposure to a HFD and Abx. Ideally, this experiment would provide a multitude of interesting data important to host-microbe interactions as well as pediatric gastroenterology as it is a novel concept that is still being explored; becoming a part of VPMM and working with a pediatric gastroenterologist would allow me to accomplish this goal.