Professor: Christopher Hernandez
Project Description: Recent studies have shown an association between the composition of the gut microbiome and bone tissue properties. Specifically, our group unexpectedly found that mice with an altered gut microbiome composition had an increased bone tissue strength relative to unaltered microbiome controls. To understand the mechanism in which the gut microbes are enhancing bone tissue strength, this project will involve performing in-depth materials characterization of bones presenting with an enhanced strength following gut microbiome manipulations. Specifically, analysis will involve performing mechanical assays (3-point bending), evaluating trabecular microarchitecture (micro-computed tomography), and evaluation of bone composition using Raman spectroscopy and Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy. The project will involve the handling of live research animals and will also include training on gut microbiome analysis.