Many chronic inflammatory health disorders, such as obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, are preceded by measurable changes in metabolic health. Using molecular, biochemical, nutritional and metabolic approaches, UNH faculty are researching the mechanisms that underlie the etiology of these metabolic health markers. Ongoing studies are examining the effects of consuming a diet imbalanced in dietary micro- and macronutrients, and of being exposed to endocrine-disrupting environmental chemicals, on biological processes that influence metabolic health and contribute to chronic inflammatory diseases.
Andre Fonseca de Brito — Improving the environmental sustainability of dairy systems
My research is focused on improving nutrient utilization in dairy cows to reduce the environmental impact of dairy systems. Specific goals are: 1) Enhance nitrogen utilization in lactating dairy cows through dietary manipulation to reduce the environmental impact of conventional and organic dairy systems; 2) Enhance forage quality and digestibility by increasing the concentration of nonstructural carbohydrates through daytime cutting management (e.g., p.m.- vs. a.m.-cutting) and timing of pasture allocation (e.g., p.m. vs. a.m. strip grazing); 3) Develop supplementation strategies to enhance pasture nutrient utilization while reducing the output of nitrogen and methane to the environment in pasture-based organic dairy systems; 4) Use of the in vitro gas production technique to better understand nutrient utilization and ruminal fermentation profile in lactating dairy cows; 5) Improve milk composition (e.g., milk omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acids) and animal health by feeding flaxseed and kelp meal to organic dairy cows.
Joanne Curran-Celentano — Bioavailability of dietary carotenoids
The Celentano lab investigates the bioavailability of dietary carotenoids with a focus on retinal health with aging. Using plant based dietary interventions and dietary supplements we continue to explore how diet impacts macular pigment (MP). Found in the fovea, this pigment can be measured psychophysically and related to diet and lifestyle factor affecting vision health. We are refining dietary intake methodology to assess intake of fruit, vegetables, dairy and whole grains to enhance the quantification of carotenoid intake and to assess the value of increasing the intake of these foods. We are also exploring how growing conditions (plants) and feeding regimes (dairy) influence the content and availability of dietary carotenoids. Our research explores the association of biomarkers with functional endpoints (visual performance, obesity, glucose tolerance, inflammation, and cognitive function) in an older population within the context of dietary intake patterns of fruit, vegetables, dairy and whole grains.
Peter Erickson — Improving immunity of the neonatal calf
My laboratory’s research focus deals primarily with dairy cattle nutrition. In particular, we strive to improve the immune status of the newborn calf through colostrum management. We also study ways in which we can reduce stress at parturition and improve overall postpartum cow health. We also are involved in studies to reduce stress at weaning and improve performance of calves and heifers
Thomas Foxall — Markers of health in pasture-fed vs. total mixed ration-fed dairy cows
The composition of grazed grasses provides a healthier profile of fatty acids compared to grain based total mixed rations. Especially important is the higher amounts of omega-3 and conjugated linoleic acids and lower amounts of omega-6 fatty acids. This is reflected in the composition of the milk and milk products that humans consume. It is well established that omega-3 and CLA fatty acids are more anti-inflammatory and lower the risk for numerous chronic diseases. What has not been well investigated is whether or not the dairy cattle themselves are healthier. Markers of inflammation and stress include: cortisol, haptoglobin, interleukins, serum amyloid A, white blood cell counts, etc., and are measured regularly for comparison. The results have implications for human health, farm finances, the environment and the sustainability of farms.