My background in applied agriculture and nutrition and my doctoral/post doc training in molecular biology have allowed me to pursue a wide range of projects. The research program I have initiated at Utah State involves:
1) Cellular iron metabolism
Since my appointment, I have completed a cellular iron metabolism project that was initiated during my post doctoral fellowship. This work led to a publication in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. Currently, I have shifted my iron metabolism focus to the iron regulatory hormone hepcidin and have had initial success cloning and characterizing the hepcidin promoter.
2) Examining health benefits of bioactive milk constituents
In collaboration with Dr. Robert Ward, we have embarked on a project to characterize biological effects of a milk fraction (milk fat globular membrane, MFGM). Thus far we have shown that MFGM improves gut epithelial barrier function in cultured cells (manuscript in preparation). In another study we demonstrated that MFGM prevents colon cancer in a rodent model (manuscript in preparation). This work led to a competitive, externally funded grant (Hintze, Project Leader) to test whether MFGM improves gut barrier function in-vivo.
3) Antioxidant gene regulation
In collaboration with Dr. William Self (University of Central Florida), we have shown that trivalent arsenicals increase thioredoxin reductase gene expression and that this increase is mediated through the antioxidant responsive element found in the gene promoter. This work led to the publication of a manuscript that is currently in-press.
4) Peppermint oils and the uptake of Coenzyme Q10
Currently, I am working the A.M. Todd Company on the use of unique peppermint oil fractions and Coenzyme Q10 absorption. I have demonstrated that peppermint oil fractions dramatically increase Coenzyme Q10 absorption in both a cultured cell model and in-vivo (manuscript in preparation).