“MicroFOOD” is a proof-of-principle study testing whether selected ingested beef miRNAs have the potential to regulate human genes initiating or adding to the progression of colorectal cancer. Specifically, upregulated miRNAs in CRC patient biopsies will be identified (Aim 1) and correlated to enriched miRNAs found in edible parts of beef (Aim 2). Five tumorigenic miRNA candidates will be selected after bioinformatic filtering (Aim 3) and studied: a) through human digestion (Aim 4), b) for their effect on human intestinal epithelial cells (Aim 5), c) on their putative transepithelial transport via the gut (Aim 6). Identification of beef miRNAs as the link between diet and CRC will have imperative implications for prevention, risk-assessment and therapy of an increasingly frequent human cancer while add to the growing and controversial field of “cross-species regulation by dietary miRNA”; a phenomenon that could revolutionize our understanding of the effect of diet on human disease.

Myrtani Pieri
Assistant Professor of Human Anatomy and Physiology

My research focuses on Gastrointestinal tract physiology and, in particular, the role of specific ingested micromolecules in tumorigenesis.