News & Events

Carlito B. Lebrilla, Ph.D.

Posted on October 11, 2019


Date - October 11, 2019
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm


Dr. Carlito B. Lebrilla
Distinguished Professor
Department of Chemistry
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine
University of California, Davis
Title: Advanced Analytical Methods in deciphering the role of Diet and the Microbiome


Host-microbe interactions provide important benefits to both host and microbes. The strategy to attract microbes to the host occurs through the host glycome. In humans this begins in lactation and later through adult diet. However, the strategy is also used by plants. Several species of corn produce aerial roots that are rich with plant mucins that attract nitrogen fixing bacteria. Characterizing the host glycan structures is key toward understanding this role of glycans in mediating host-microbe interactions. In this research, we examine the structures of human milk oligosaccharides and carbohydrates in food to determine how these structures direct the respective microbiome. We further illustrate that plants produce mucin like carbohydrates that attract bacteria to fertilize the plant by fixing nitrogen. These studies are made possible with the development of advanced analytical methods in separation and mass spectrometry. These methods make rapid throughput glycomic possible yielding structural profiles with quantitation and deep structural characterization.  These structures can be further matched to specific enzymes in the microbe that can catabolize the compounds.