K. Leigh Greathouse
Dr. Leigh Greathouse is an Assistant Professor of Nutrition Sciences at Baylor University, with joint appointments in both Biology and Health and Human Performance. Prior to her position at Baylor, Dr. Greathouse received her master’s degree in exercise and sports nutrition from Texas Woman’s University. She went on to obtain a Ph.D. in molecular carcinogenesis at University of Texas and MD Anderson Cancer Center, where she studied the effects of early life exposure to dietary and environmental xenoestrogens on development of reproductive tract disease. Dr. Greathouse continued her research in cancer prevention at the National Cancer Institute, where she completed her master’s in public health at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and postdoctoral fellowship in cancer prevention. While at the NCI, her research was focused on the impact of obesity and the microbiome on lung cancer risk, and discovered a link between mutations in a tumor suppressor gene and the lung microbiome in early stage lung cancer.
Dr. Greathouse has received multiple awards for her work, including a Merit Award from the National Institutes of Health, and has been honored as part of the Rising Stars group at Baylor Univeristy. Hew research has also been featured in several publications in prominent journals and textbooks. Most recently, a review on “The Gut Microbiome, Obesity, and Weight Control in Women’s Reproductive Health” was accepted for publication in Western Journal of Nursing Research. She also has multiple grant awards, over $1.2 million dollars, to study the microbiome in the context of obesity, pregnancy and in cancer.
As part of her ongoing research, she collaborates with multiple investigators across the U.S. to explore microbiome-host relationships, which include: 1) relationship between Meals on Wheels meal delivery and malnutrition among older at-risk adults, 2) identification of dietary biomarkers for obesity associated pre-term birth risk in African-Americans, 2) identification of dietary and microbial patterns that define obesity associated colon cancer, and 3) determining the effects microbial small RNAs on activation of toll-like receptors and inflammation. Overall, the goals of her laboratory are to better understanding how the relationship between diet, obesity and the microbiome impact risk for colon cancer in order to reduce cancer risk, mortality and long-term treatment side effects.
Research Objective: Determine how the diet and microbiome converge to influence obesity-associated cancer risk, prognosis and survivorship