• 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 two diabetes mellitus (T2D) are metabolic conditions with high, global socio-economic impact due to significant morbidity and mortality, and are major health care challenge of the 21st century.  Research has generated indisputable evidence showing that the interaction between nutrients-gut microbiota-gut wall play a fundamental role in maintaining the health status and pathobiology of these illnesses.  T2D patients exhibit bowel disorders characterized by symptoms of excessive thirst, increased hunger, vomiting, heartburn, stomach pain, diarrhea, and constipation.  Studies in animal models and in humans with T2D suggest that damage to gastrointestinal nerve tissue (neuropathy) plays a key role in the development of bowel disorders of T2D patients and could have a role in the development of T2D.  We are investigating high fat diet-induced intestinal neuropathy. Project 2.  Diarrheal diseases are the second leading cause of malnutrition and death of children in developing countries.  Diarrhea causes significant morbidity and mortality in people with weak immunity, the elderly and in mass population movements associated with natural disasters.  Current therapies do not necessarily shorten the duration of diarrhea, or lessen abdominal pain.  We are investigating Garcinia buchananii bark extract for it potential as an effective complementary diarrhea treatment.

Minimum Classes: Introductory Biology

Projects: The INBRE Summer Research Fellows have to option to choose the project they like most. Project 1:  Summer research will focus on how high-fat diet lead to intestinal neuropathy and strategies to alleviate high-fat diet-induced neuropathy. Project 2:  Summer research will involve bioactivity-guided screening of Garcinia buchananiifractions and isolated compounds to identify neuroactive compounds that inhibit or increase propulsive bowel motility and how they affect neurotransmission.

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