Rebecca Carrier, Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering
Scientists and doctors have long known that food digestion affects the way the body absorbs not just nutrients, but also drugs. Fat molecules, in particular, can help people absorb drugs, including oral chemotherapy treatments, more efficiently.
What we have yet to discover are the details of this process that would enable doctors to fine-tune drug dosages, minimize side effects, and make drug delivery more efficient. But Carrier may soon be able to start filling in those knowledge gaps.
With funding support from the National Institutes of Health, she and her team are gaining a clearer understanding of the mechanisms behind this phenomenon.
In one project, they’re developing predictive models for how ingested lipids, or fat molecules, change the way the body absorbs different compounds. In a second project that will help advance the modeling goal, Carrier’s lab is exploring the properties of the gastrointestinal mucus barrier, which simultaneously protects the body from harmful bacteria while allowing the absorption of needed vitamins and nutrients.
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