Young UMass Amherst Scientist Honored for Contributions to IBD, Colon Cancer Research

Young UMass Amherst Scientist Honored for Contributions to IBD, Colon Cancer Research
Food scientist Guodong Zhang, PhD, at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, has been granted the 2019 AOCS Young Scientist Research Award for his research on risk factors that contribute to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and colon cancer. This award by American Oil Chemists’ Society (AOCS) honors scientists younger than 36, whose research “has significantly effected an advance within their discipline, or holds substantial promise for such an effect in the near future.” Zhang will receive $1,000, a plaque, and a $1,500 travel allowance to attend the AOCS annual meeting that will be held May 5–8 in St. Louis, Mo. “We are very happy to receive this award,” Zhang, including his research team in the honor, said in a university news release. During the meeting, Zhang will present a lecture on his research to understand the role of oxidized fat as a new potential risk factor for IBD and colon cancer. “This is another major area we are currently working on,” he said. The lecture, “Oxidized dietary fat: a novel risk factor of inflammatory bowel disease and colon cancer via altering gut microbiota,” will be held the morning of May 8, in the Health and Nutrition Session 4. A recent study by Zhang and his collaborators showed that exposure to the chemical compound triclosan can induce low-grade colonic inflammation, increase colitis, and exacerbate colitis-associated colon cancer in mice. Triclosan is a commonly used antimicrobial agent that is present in more than 2,000 products, such as toothpaste, cosmetics, kitchenware, and toys. The researchers found that exposure to triclosan can change the natural balance of microorganisms and support pro-inflammatory mechanisms in the gut of mice. Additional experiments showed that inhibition
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