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AGA, General Mills announce grant to uncover role between intestinal bacteria and health and disease

The American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Foundation for Digestive Health and Nutrition (FDHN) announced that Anisa Shaker, MD, is the recipient of the AGA-General Mills Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition Research Scholar Award in Gut Physiology and Health. This award provides $225,000 over three years for a young investigator working toward an independent career studying the relationship of gut microflora to physiology and immune function.

"Researchers are working hard to try to understand how the environment of the digestive system relates to and affects other bodily functions, including a person's immunity," said Nicholas F. LaRusso, MD, AGAF, chair of the AGA Foundation. "The AGA Foundation is grateful for the support shown by the General Mills Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition in funding research that will help gastroenterologists continue to better understand and manage digestive health."

"This award will allow me to continue to cultivate and expand growing research interests that align with my clinical interest in inflammatory disorders and malignancies of the luminal GI tract. This generous funding will also provide me with protected time necessary for continued focused research, afford me the opportunity to continue to generate meaningful data and ultimately, to be a competitive candidate for independent federal grant support," said Dr. Shaker.

An assistant professor of medicine at Washington University School of Medicine, Dr. Shaker will focus her research on investigating epimorphin (Epim -/-) mice microbiota in colitis and colitis-associated cancer to understand gut microbial ecology during homeostasis and disease, delineate factors that modulate the intestinal microbiota, and uncover potential therapies to establish a luminal environment protective against colitis and colitis-associated cancer. (Mice that lack the protein Epim -/- are protected from the development of colitis and colitis-associated colon cancer. To learn more about colon or colorectal cancer, visit the AGA's patient center at

Said Susan Crockett, PhD, RD, senior technology officer, General Mills Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition, "As part of General Mills' mission of nourishing lives, the Bell Institute is committed to championing health innovation. We value the collaborative partnership with AGA and are committed to providing research funding to further elucidate the relationship between gut microbiota and health."


Contact: Jennifer Chisholm
American Gastroenterological Association

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