| University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Dr. Bultman investigates the mechanism of how dietary fiber protects against colorectal cancer. Utilizing gnotobiotic mouse models, we are investigating bacterial fermentation of fiber into butyrate, which is the primary energy source of colonocytes and has potent tumor-suppressive effects. We are particularly interested in characterizing its effects as a histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor to epigenetically regulate gene expression. However, butyrate is a pleiotropic molecule, and we are also evaluating the importance of other butyrate-mediated mechanisms in tumor suppression. This includes butyrate inducing Treg cells and having anti-inflammatory properties, improving barrier function, and functioning as a ligand for G protein coupled receptors.