• Name: Onesmo B. Balemba, MVM, Ph.D.
  • Institution: University of Idaho
  • Department: Biological Sciences
  • Phone: 208-885-8023
  • Email: obalemba@uidaho.edu

Summary: Project 1.  Obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D) among the topmost global health problems due to high socio-economic impact, significant morbidity and mortality.  Research has generated indisputable evidence showing that the interaction between nutrients-gut microbiota-elements of the gut wall play a fundamental role in maintaining the health status and the pathobiology of obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus.  Furthermore, obesity and T2D patients exhibit symptoms linked to bowel disorders including excessive thirst, increased hunger, vomiting, heartburn, stomach pain, diarrhea, and constipation.  Studies in animal models and in humans suggest that damage to gastrointestinal nerve tissue (neuropathy of the enteric nervous system) and subsequent altered bowel habits have a key role in the development of T2D.  Unfortunately, we do not fully understand what triggers enteric nervous system neuropathy and altered gut motility. Our lab is investigating the idea that filtrates of stool obtain from mice with high fat diet-induced diabetes conditions and humans with T2D have toxins that trigger neuropathy of the enteric nervous system and altered bowel habits. Project 2.  Diarrhea causes significant morbidity and mortality in children, people with weak immunity, the elderly and in mass population movements associated with natural disasters and war displacement.  Current therapies do not necessarily shorten the duration of diarrhea or lessen abdominal pain.  We investigate it potential as an effective complementary diarrhea treatment. We are also exploring the potential of using Garcinia buchananii bark extract and other plants extracts to mitigate neuropathy.

Minimum Classes: Introductory Biology

Projects: The INBRE Summer Research Fellows will focus on Project 1. However, with reasonable justification, fellows could be considered to study whether Garcinia buchananii bark extract and another extract called neurosicol protects enteric neurons from damage elicited by bacterial endotoxins (lipoteichoic acid and lipopolysaccharide) or stool filtrates of human stool.

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