Graduate Student Excellence-in-Research Award 2015
Colette Miller, a recent doctoral graduate in foods and nutrition, studies obesity and how excessive weight may contribute to the development of liver diseases like fatty liver, fibrosis, cirrhosis and liver cancers. For her dissertation, Miller examined whether sex differences, estrogen, age and supplemental phytochemical blends influenced liver function as assessed by measures of liver metabolism and genetic expression of enzymatic and metabolic markers. She discovered marked sex differences, unique genetic signatures related to liver metabolism and hope for attenuation of liver disease with supplements of phytochemicals. The promise of her research is shown in part by her filing of an invention disclosure based on the use of flavonoids—a class of phytonutrients that give berries and other foods their rich color—to prevent the development on nonalcoholic steatohepatits in postmenopausal women. Miller is currently a postdoctoral research association in foods and nutrition at UGA and she recently accepted a post-doctoral research position at the Environmental Protection Agency at Research Triangle Park.