Dr. Holly Cyphert of the Marshall University College of Health Professions has received a $10,000 grant from the West Virginia IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (WV-INBRE) Chronic Disease Research Program toward her research of evaluating the role of bile acids in diabetes and obesity.
Cyphert, a faculty member in the college’s Department of Health Sciences, said she will be using patient samples to understand the distribution and concentration of bile acids and how they relate to BMI and other indicators of cardio-metabolic health.
“In regard to bile acids, I have found multiple targets in multiple tissues, such as the liver and pancreas, that could aid in the reversal of diabetes,” Cyphert said. “My Ph.D. work focused on how FGF21 was enhanced with bile acid administration. Here at Marshall, I have data to support the notion that bile acids target insulin signaling in the pancreas.”
Marshall students will have the opportunity to be involved in this research project, and Cyphert said she hopes through their work they will enhance their ability to perform research independently.
“I will have 2-3 students involved in this project. Some are involved in the blood donation from the study subjects, while others are involved in the analysis of mass spectrometry data,” Cyphert said. “I hope my students will learn the scientific method and new techniques by assisting me with this project. Many students have a preconceived notion as to what research is (or is not). I hope to elaborate on their scientific curiosity and strengthen their ability to perform research on their own.”
Cyphert said she has always been interested in diabetes and obesity research, especially growing up in the state that was once deemed the fattest in the nation.
“Growing up in West Virginia, I have witnessed firsthand the devastation of the disease and have been aiming toward making an impact in the community through the discovery of new therapeutic techniques.”
To learn more about Cyphert’s diabetes and obesity research, contact her at [email protected]. For more information about faculty research in the Department of Health Sciences, visit http://www.marshall.edu/health-sciences/.