Grant Abstract: Botanicals and Metabolic Resiliency

Grant Number: 5P50AT002776-14
PI Name: Stephens (formerly Cefalu)
Project Title: Botanicals and Metabolic Resiliency

Abstract: This application is for a renewal of our Botanical Dietary Supplement Research Center. Our Botanical Research Center is a collaborative effort between the Pennington Biomedical Research Center of the Louisiana State University (LSU) System and the Department of Plant Biology and Pathology of Rutgers University. The theme of the Center is "Botanicals and Metabolic Resiliency". Specifically, our Center is poised to take the next logical scientific step in evaluating the role of botanicals for promoting human health by specifically focusing on the functional aspects and mechanisms by which botanicals promote metabolic resilience and general health. As such, our botanical research center will pursue exciting, novel, and in-depth hypotheses with specific emphasis on cellular mechanisms of action by which botanicals preserve and maintain normal tissue function and resist tissue dysfunction when exposed to significant environmental stressors, such as occur as part of an obesogenic environment. The resiliency promoted by botanicals will maintain whole body health. We refer to this characteristic as "botano-metabolic resiliency." Our Botanical Research Center will consist of three (3) highly collaborative research projects, an Integrative Biology Core, a Botanical core, and an Administrative core. Our Center has three aims which will promote a collaborative and interactive research environment, will identify and evaluate botanicals with potential efficacy in promoting metabolic resiliency, and will expand the critical mass of investigators addressing botanical research. For this grant cycle, we are proposing to expand studies on botanicals for which we have significant data (Artemisia sp, Projects 1 and 2), while also evaluating promising new leads (i.e., Groundsel bush [Baccharis halimifolia]) identified in our innovative screening program. In addition, we will study botanicals that are of great interest to the US consumer and of public health interest and whose mechanisms of action appear central to our theme (i.e., Trigonella foenum gracecum [fenugreek], Moringa oleifera Lam., and Momordica charantia [bitter melon]) (Projects 1, 2, 3). We have added additional state-of-the-art methodologies (e.g, live cell calcium imaging, gut microbiome assessment) and propose to specifically leverage our expertise in functional genomics/gene expression by exploring the individual variability in responses to botanicals. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: Given the complications that are present with development of obesity and type 2 diabetes, it is imperative that we implement effective strategies to maintain normal tissue function in the presence of an obesogenic environment. We propose to evaluate how botanicals enhance an individual's ability to resist disease states.

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