Olivia Rivera (Senior PhD student at Penn State Hershey) with her co-mentor Dr. David Soybel following her outstanding talk during her annual presentation in the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program.
March 12, 2018: Happy Spring!! The last 4 months have been super-busy! Our research lab is unpacked and organized, our mice are breeding, and projects at UMass Lowell are now underway! Many thanks to my senior PhD students Tong Wu (at UML) for going above and beyond to get the lab and new projects up and going, and Olivia Rivera (at Penn State) for keeping our current projects moving full speed ahead. If you’re interested in joining our research team, please see our Research Opportunities tab.
Research in the Kelleher Lab is broadly aimed at understanding the role of diet, genetics and environmental factors on maternal and infant health. Our research aims to understand the molecular factors that regulate mammary gland function during lactation, and gastrointestinal function and host-microbe interactions during infant development.
We work to understand the role and regulation of zinc transport in highly specialized secretory cells, such as mammary cells, Paneth cells, and macrophages. Our work has long focused on elucidating the role and regulation of the zinc transporter ZnT2 in the lactating mammary gland. A new focus of our work aims to explore how diet, genetic and environmental factors interact to impair the ability to produce enough milk to optimally nourish breastfed infants. We are currently exploring the role and regulation of ZnT2-mediated zinc transport in gastrointestinal development, function and host-microbe interactions during early life. Our translational research utilizes cultured cells and transgenic mouse models, combined with studies in breastfeeding women and infants, to integrate nutrition with genetics, cell biology, and physiology.