Wednesday, May 6, 2009

go go gadget grad school

Yesterday I got an email from the professor I wanted as my grad school adviser asking if I was still interested in joining her research group! I had pretty much given up hope - partly because it had been more than a month without hearing anything and partly to protect myself against rejection - but now I can really get excited! I'm going to meet with her soon to talk about everything before making a final decision, but most likely I will be starting the master's program in the fall.

The professor's name is Joanne Slavin and she studies the effects of dietary fiber and oligosaccharides (which are indigestible sugars that get fermented by intestinal bacteria) on cholesterol, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. I think this is interesting because of the prevalence of these diseases right now and also because of the importance of intestinal bacteria. Whole grains and other whole foods (vegetables, fruits and legumes) promote growth of certain types of beneficial bacteria (like bifidobacteria) while the absence of these foods allows other, less beneficial and sometimes harmful, bacteria (like E. Coli and bacteroides) to grow. A few of these other types of bacteria are thought to reverse the actions of antioxidants by converting substances into carcinogens in the gut. And the best part of using whole foods to prevent diseases is that it's a lot cheaper (and easier on the body) than trying to reverse these diseases once they start.


  1. I am happy both for you and the bifidobacteria!!


  2. Hi Michelle - I just heard the GREAT news. Congratulations! It sounds like very interesting reasearch to be involved in.