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 understand 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.