Mission statement: Our lab strives to develop methods and approaches to study the bioactive compounds in the diet with the potential to improve health and performance in livestock species and human
The main research interests of Bionaz's lab are:
- nutrigenomics in dairy animals --> the main purpose is to harness the capacity of dietary fatty acids and secondary metabolites present in plants to induce specific transcription factors (i.e., peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors and Nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2) with potential important roles in controlling metabolism, oxidative stress, immune function, and milk quality. The long term goal is to improve the condition of dairy animals around parturition via nutrient-gene interactions. Before nutrigenomics can have applications foundametal investigations need to be carried out.
- milk and human health --> milk is known to provide benefits to humans but the biological reasons for these effects are not always clear. Few years ago it was discovered that milk contains an important amount of small vesicles (i.e., exosomes) full of very small RNA (micro RNA or miRNA). If these miRNA cross the intestine and are present in blood (i.e., horizontal transfer) can affect the biology of people consuming milk, including immune system and obesity. The study of these miRNA can have tremendous consequences to human health and the dairy industry.
- systems biology --> few years ago I developed a novel bioinformatics tool called Dynamic Impact Approach that can aid in the analysis of omics data produced from complex experiments, such as time-course and multiple treatments experiments. The goal is to further develop the tool and make it available to the public.
- animal welfare and management --> animal wellbeing is highly associated with animal performance and it is becoming a priority concern for consumers. There is a constant increase in size of dairy farms and robotic and automatization of dairy farms is progressing; thus, farmers need to have the possibility of monitoring the wellbeing of their animals 24/7 in an automatic way. The goal is to provide an automatic system for the farmers to monitor animal wellbeing.
- feeding hemp byproducts to ruminants --> Oregon is becoming the leading state in the world for the production of cannabidiol (CBD). After the extraction of CDB, a large amount of biomass remains. This biomass still contain high nutritive value. It is however still prohibited in USA to feed byproducts of hemp due to the residuals of cannabinoids, including the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It is also unclear if those byproducts can be good for the animals. The aim of our research is to determine the residuals of cannabinoids in milk and meat after feeding hemp spent biomass and determine the effect on health and performance in ruminant animals