Dr. M. Andrea Azcarate-Peril, Director

Andrea M. Andrea Azcarate-Peril, Ph. D. is Assistant Professor of Cell Biology and  Physiology in the School of Medicine at UNC Chapel Hill.  Dr. Azcarate-Peril currently conducts research in modulation of the host-associated microbiota by prebiotics and probiotics. She has extensive experience in physiology and functional genomics of probiotic strains. Dr. Azcarate-Peril uses molecular biology, genomics, and next-generation sequencing tools to address questions relevant to the role of the intestinal microbiota in human health and disease.


Dr. Fodor is Associate Professor of Bioinformatics and Genomics at UNC Charlotte. His lab focuses on using High-throughput sequencing technologies to characterize microbial diversity and function in human-associated microbial communities. Dr. Fodor is a member of the data analysis working group of the Human Microbiome Project. His lab has long-standing interest in bioinformatics algorithms and development of new tools for the visualization and interpretation of genomic data.




Dr. Natasha Butz, Technical Director

Natasha Butz

Dr. Butz is the Technical Director of the Microbiome Core Facility. She got her Ph. D in Genetics in Kiev, Ukraine and has been a postdoctoral fellow at Lerner Research Institute Cleveland Clinic Foundation and at Department of Genetics at UNC. She also had a previous appointment as a Research Associate at the Division of Pharmacotherapy and Experimental Therapeutic (School of Pharmacy, UNC). Dr. Butz provides research support to an investigators in a study of complex microbial communities using diverse molecular techniques and in particular, Next Generation Sequencing platforms. She possesses an extensive experience in classical methods and modern techniques of cellular and molecular biology with emphasis on assay design and development, providing her ability to design, perform and interpret experiments in order to analyze complex microbial populations.  Dr. Butz has published the results of her research in peer-reviewed journals and book chapters,  participated in national and international meetings and has been a recipient of a Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Postdoctoral Research Training Grant.

Dr. Belen Cadenas, Research Associate

Belen CadenasMaría Belén Cadenas, Ph. D. is a Senior Research Associate at the Microbiome Core Facility in the School of Medicine at UNC Chapel Hill. She holds a Ph. D. in Cell Molecular Biology from the University of Buenos Aires (Argentina) and had previous appointments in the Department of Clinical Science and in the Molecular Biomedical Sciences Department, School of Veterinary Medicine at North Carolina State University. She has extensive experience in Cell Cycle, Skin Cancer and Molecular Diagnostic applied to Microbiology, Blood Borne Pathogens and Minimal Residue Disease in Child Leukemia.


Dr. Andrea Monteagudo, Postdoctoral Research Associate

Andrea Monteagudo Andrea Monteagudo-Mera, Ph. D. is a postdoctoral research associate in the Microbiome Core Facility, Center for Gastrointestinal Biology and Disease, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andrea Monteagudo-Mera received her B.S degree in Biology from University of Leon, Spain, in 2005. At the end of 2010 she completed her Ph. D studies at the same university. Her thesis research focused on the evaluation of the potential probiotic of lactic acid bacteria strains. She joined the Azcarate-Peril lab in July 2012 and she is currently interested on the modulation of the gut microbiota by probiotics and prebiotics.


  Imane Allali is a PhD Student at the Faculty of Sciences of Rabat, Morocco. She has a master degree in Bioinformatics and a Bachelor degree in Physics from the same University. In January 2014, she joined the Microbiome Core Facility in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a Fulbright scholar. Her research aims to define a relationship between the gut microbiome and colorectal cancer.