Two post-doctoral scholars—Søren Drud Nielsen and Veronique Demers-Mathieu—have joined the Dallas lab. Dr. Nielsen and Dr. Demers-Mathieu are uniquely qualified to contribute to our investigation of milk proteins and infant digestive health. We are happy to welcome them to the lab.
Søren Drud Nielsen
Dr. Nielsen is deeply interested in the health impacts of food. He completed both his M.S. and his Ph.D. in Food Science at Aarhus University in Denmark. His research focused on the effect of casein-derived peptides on intestinal cell migration induction and the ability of milk-derived free fatty acids to regulate proteins involved in fat metabolism in the infant intestine.
Recently, Dr. Nielsen examined the quality of lactose-reduced UHT milk during storage. He discovered that the lactase enzyme preparations used to reduce the lactose have contaminating enzymes that are active in degrading milk proteins, leading to a bitter taste developing during elongated storage.
Dr. Nielsen’s research experiences have provided him with expertise in cell culture, real time qPCR, proteomics and peptidomics.
At Oregon State University, Dr. Nielsen is applying his skills in mass spectrometry, bioinformatics and statistics to study infant digestion. He chose to work in the Dallas lab because he is interested in the health impacts of food on humans, and examining impaired digestion of preterm infants seemed like a perfect window into these larger questions. He is excited to be applying state-of-the-art mass spectrometry to these problems!
Dr. Nielsen enjoys lab research because it allows him to pursue his own scientific questions, mentor students and collaborate with researchers across the world. He hopes to build his own research group to study the impact of nutrients on inflammation, allergies, and impaired digestion and also work as a research project leader in industry.
Dr. Demers-Mathieu is passionate about microbiology, dairy science and molecular medicine. She completed her B.Sc. in Food Science and Chemistry and her M.S. in Biochemistry at Laval University in Quebec. She then completed her Ph.D. research with the Saint-Hyacinthe Research and Development Center, part of Agriculture and Agri-food Canada, the Quebec Heart and Lung Institute and Laval University.
Dr. Demers-Mathieu research examined the viability of new probiotics in low fat yogurt and cheddar cheese production and determined the effects of these probiotic foods on inflammation and obesity. She discovered that probiotics do not necessarily need to be viable to have anti-inflammatory effects and that probiotic milk consumption can lead to weight loss and adipose tissue reduction in mice.
In the Dallas lab, Dr. Demers-Mathieu is applying her expertise in microbiology and milk biology to help identify the functions of milk’s native proteases in the infant gut. She is currently developing affinity purification methods to extract these proteases and test the function of milk with and without these enzymes in animal models. These experiments will help determine how milk proteases affect protein digestion and microbial growth and activity in the infant gut.
To Dr. Demers-Mathieu, human milk is a goldmine for discovery of novel bioactive compounds for immunological and microbial modulation. Dr. Demers-Mathieu also loves sharing her research passions through teaching and mentoring. After her post-doc, Dr. Demers-Mathieu plans to become a research scientist at a research center or university.
Welcome Dr. Nielsen and Dr. Demers-Mathieu!