Headshot portrait of Catherine Liou - Bio-X Bowes Fellow
Bio-X Graduate Student Fellow

Awarded in 2018
Home Department: Chemical Engineering
Faculty Advisors: Elizabeth Sattely (Chemical Engineering) and Justin Sonnenburg (Microbiology & Immunology)

Research Title: Plant metabolic engineering to quantify the impact of individual dietary nutrients on host biology

Research Description: Numerous metabolites from dietary plants have been implicated in disease prevention; however, our ability to quantify Photo of graduate student Catherine Liou in the lab, examining leaves on a plant.their impact and determine their mechanism of action is lacking. A systematic approach that simultaneously controls for food context, plant metabolism, and the gut microbiome is a critical unmet need. Catherine proposes a general platform that relies on the model plant Arabadiopsis thaliana as a metabolic chassis to cleanly isolate the effects of individual nutrients from any dietary plant by integrating plant metabolic engineering approaches with advances made in microbiome. Catherine anticipates that this work will help quantify the impact of dietary molecules on disease and guide future engineering efforts to optimize crop nutrient content.


Catherine is continuing in the Sattely Lab at Stanford to finish up work investigating the impact of gut microbial metabolism on dietary plant compounds.