Deepshika Ramanan, PhD

Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in both men and women. Most people that get colorectal cancer are not genetically predisposed and while the causes are not clear there are three key players in the intestine: 1) immune cells, 2) microbes, and 3) environmental factors such as diet. How these players interact to determine cancer risk needs to be understood. We recently found that mothers can shape intestinal microbes and immune cells for multiple generations by influencing diet in early life (breastmilk). Our big question is, Can mothers protect their offspring from developing colorectal cancer by shaping their immune system? We will use mouse models to address maternal influence on multigenerational colorectal cancer susceptibility. Using a multi-omics approach, we will study the mechanisms of how breastmilk factors shape intestinal microbes and immune cells and protect from colorectal cancer. Our studies will provide the much-needed insight into immune cell-microbe-diet interactions and their role in cancer initiation and progression, and in the future we could harness protective factors in breastmilk to prevent or treat colorectal cancer.

Location: Salk Cancer Center - Salk Institute for Biological Studies - La Jolla
Proposal: Role of the entero-mammary axis in multigenerational colorectal cancer susceptibility
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