Heat stress affects US dairy herds in every state costing the dairy industry $1.5 billion annually. This common devastating problem severely impacts sustainability of US dairy production due to reduced productivity and animal well-being issues. Current preventive and treatment interventions are not fully effective to combat heat stress, primarily due to limited understanding of the detrimental effects at tissue, cellular, and molecular levels. Notably, recent studies indicated that heat stress may directly impair intestinal epithelial barrier function and, in turn, increases translocation of bacterial toxins, inflammation, and oxidative stress.
Our lab strives to understand mechanisms that regulate intestinal barrier integrity and metabolic implications. Our efforts are focus on understanding intestinal barrier structure and function at cellular, molecular and genomics levels.