Nancy D. Turner

Nancy Turner

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Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition




Research Area

Dr. Turner’s research focuses on identifying bioactive compounds in the diet that suppress colon carcinogenesis and inflammatory bowel disease. Part of the projects are targeted at studying the regulation of colonocyte proliferation and apoptosis, and determining how dietary components influence apoptosis induction in order to eliminate DNA damaged cells. Current research is designed to understand how diet and radiation exposures influence the intestinal environment, with particular attention to the interaction between microbiota and colon epithelia. Recent outcomes have detected changes in the metabolic profile of microbiota after radiation exposure and have identified dietary interventions that protect against colon disease through the establishment of beneficial bacterial populations that produce desirable microbial metabolic byproducts. Changes in the microbial metabolites were shown to impact epigenetic regulation of gene transcription and host metabolomic profile. In addition, we have recently started working to understand how diet impacts apoptosis induction in colon adult stem cells, especially in response to DNA damaging agents. A current NASA-funded project will determine the response of colon microbiota, the microbial metabolites and epigenetic state of colonocytes to radiation exposures. Work conducted in the laboratory is currently funded by the United Sorghum Checkoff Board, the California Dried Plum Board, NASA and USDA.

Recent publications 

Turner, N.D., L.E. Ritchie, R.S. Bresalier, and R.S. Chapkin.  2013.  The microbiome and colorectal neoplasia – environmental modifiers of dysbiosis.  Current Gastroenterology Reports 15(9):346.  PMID: 23949252.

Cho, Y., N.D. Turner, L.A. Davidson, R.S. Chapkin, R.J. Carroll, and J.R. Lupton.  2014.  Colon cancer cell apoptosis is induced by combined exposure to the n-3 fatty acid DHA and butyrate through promoter methylation.  Experimental Biology and Medicine 239:302-310.  PMID: 24495951.

Morgan, J.L.L., L.E. Ritchie, B.E. Crucian, C. Theriot, H. Wu, S.M. Smith, N.D. Turner, and S.R. Zwart.  2014.  Increased dietary iron and radiation in rats promotes oxidative stress, localized and systemic immune system responses, and alters colon mucosal environment.  FASEB J. 28:1486-1498. PMID: 24334706.

Ritchie, L.E., J.M. Sturino, R.J. Carroll, L.W. Rooney, A. Azcarate-Peril, and N.D. Turner.  2015.  Polyphenol-rich sorghum brans alter colon microbiota and impacts species diversity and species richness after multiple bouts of dextran sodium sulfate-induced colitis. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 91:  PMID 25764457.

Ritchie, L.E., S.S. Taddeo, B.R. Weeks, F. Lima, S.A. Bloomfield, M.A. Azcarate-Peril, S.R. Zwart, S.M. Smith, and N.D. Turner.  2015.  Space environmental factor impacts upon murine colon microbiota and mucosal homeostasis. PLoS ONE DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0125792.  PMID 26083373

Hong, M.Y., N.D. Turner, M.E. Murphy, R.J. Carroll, R.S. Chapkin, and J.R. Lupton.  2015.  In vivo regulation of colon cell proliferation, differentiation, apoptosis and P27Kip1 by dietary fish oil and butyrate in rats.  Cancer Prevention Research 8:1076-1083.  PMID 26323483.

Kim, E., L.A. Davidson, R.S. Zoh, B.S. Patil, G.K. Jayaprakasha, E.S. Callaway, C.D. Allred, N.D. Turner, and R.S. Chapkin.  2016.  Homeostatic responses of colonic LGR5 stem cells following acute in vivo exposure to a genotoxic carcinogen.  Carcinogenesis 37:206-214.  PMID 26717997.

Schreurs, A-S., Y. Shirazi-Fard, M. Shahnazari, J.S. Alwood, T.A. Truong, C.G.T. Tahimic, C.L. Limoli, N.D. Turner, B. Halloran, and R.K. Globus.  2016.  Dried plum diet protects from bone loss caused by ionizing radiation.  Scientific Reports DOI: 10.1038/srep21343.  PMID 26867002.

Kim, E., L.A. Davidson, R.S. Zoh, M.E. Hensel, M.L. Salinas, B.S. Patil, G.K. Jayaprakasha, E.S. Callaway, C.D. Allred, N.D. Turner, B. Weeks, and R.S. Chapkin.  2016.  Rapidly cycling Lgr5+ stem cells are exquisitely sensitive to extrinsic dietary factors that modulate colon cancer risk.  Cell Death & Disease 7, e2460: doi:10.1038/cddis.2016.269.  PMID 27865352.

Banerjee, N., H. Kim, S.T. Talcott, N.D. Turner, D.H. Byrne, and S.U. Mertens-Talcott.  2016.  Plum polyphenols inhibit colorectal aberrant crypt foci formation in rats: Potential role of the miR-143/protein kinase B/mammalian target of rapamycin axis.  Nutrition Research 36:1105-1113.  PMID 27865352.

Turner, N.D. and S.K. Lloyd.  2017.  Association between red meat consumption and colon cancer: A systematic review of experimental results.  Experimental Biology & Medicine 242:813-839 (Invited review). PMID 28205448.

Ritchie, L.E., S.S. Taddeo, B.R. Weeks, R.J. Carroll, L. Dykes, L.W. Rooney, and N.D. Turner.  2017. Impact of novel sorghum bran diets on DSS-induced colitis. Nutrients 9: doi: 10.3390/nu9040330.  PMID 28346392.

Tinder, A.C., R.T. Puckett, N.D. Turner, J.A. Cammack, and J.K. Tomberlin.  2017.  Bioconversion of sorghum and cowpea by black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens (L.)) larvae for alternative protein production.  Journal of Insects as Food and Feed 3:121-130.

Seidel, D.V., M.A. Azcarate-Peril, R.S. Chapkin, and N.D. Turner.  2017.  Shaping functional microbiota using dietary bioactives to reduce colon cancer risk.  Seminars in Cancer Biology 46:191-204.  10.1016/j.semcancer.2017.06.009

Riggs, P.K., L.O. Tedeschi, N.D. Turner, U. Braga-Neto, A. Jayaraman.  2017.  The role of “omics” technologies for livestock sustainability.  Arch. Latinioam. Prod. Anim. 25:147-153.

Kim, E., G.A. Wright, R.S. Zoh, B.S. Patil, G.K. Jayaprakasha, E.S. Callaway, I. Ivanov, N.D. Turner, R.S. Chapkin.  Establishment of a multi-component dietary bioactive human equivalent dose to delete damaged Lgr5+ stem cells using a mouse colon tumor initiation model.  European Journal of Cancer Prevention (Accepted).