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Bruce German

by Samantha Manning last modified Jun 26, 2015 02:44 PM

Education:

  1. B.S. in Biology, University of Western Ontario, Ontario, Canada , 1976
  2. M.S. in Plant Biochemistry, University of Western Ontario, Canada , 1979
  3. Ph.D., Food Chemistry, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 1983

Biography:

Dr. German's laboratory group focuses on research seeking to understand how to improve foods and their ability to deliver improved health. The model being used to pave the way toward improving the health benefits of foods is milk, which evolved to make healthy mammals healthier. Milk is the only biomaterial that has evolved under the Darwinian selective pressure for the specific and sole purpose of nourishing growing mammals. Survival of offspring exerted a strong selective pressure on the biochemical evolution of lactation. This process has led to the appearance of new compositional properties of milk that promote health, strength, and ultimately survival. This evolutionary logic is the basis of the research program to discover physical, functional and nutritional properties of milk components. 

Dr. German is also interested in personalized health and research is developing the means to understand how individual human lipid metabolism responds to the lipid composition of diets. Each person has slightly different responses to diet based on their own genetics, metabolism and nutrition status. One of the goals of the laboratory research is to understand the molecular basis of these differences, how to recognize them, and design food strategies to complement them. We are working on analyses to allow individuals to monitor how their body reacts to various foods and to modify their consumption to maintain good health.

Research Interests

The lipid or fatty component is responsible for much of the beneficial sensory attributes of food, yet the over-consumption of specific classes of fats is implicated in the etiology of many human chronic diseases. Health organizations have suggested that changing the fatty acid composition of human diets would significantly decrease the susceptibility to diseases such as heart disease, cancer and autoimmunity. Unfortunately, an understanding of the mechanisms by which these beneficial effects act and even the physical means to implement these changes on the typical Western diet are largely unknown. Research in this laboratory seeks to develop the chemical, biochemical and nutritional information needed, such that more precise estimates of benefits and risks of modulating the lipid composition of foods can be developed. The researchers in the laboratory examine the chemistry of fats in food and their effects on the metabolism of animals that ingest them. Research is developing the means to understand how individual human lipid metabolism responds to the lipid composition of diets. Each person has slightly different responses to diet based on their own genetics, metabolism and nutrition status. One of the goals of the laboratory research is to understand the molecular basis of these differences, how to recognize them and design food strategies to complement them. We are working on analyses to allow individuals to monitor how their body reacts to various foods and to modify their consumption to maintain good health. The laboratory group is also seeking to understand how to improve foods and their abilities to deliver improved health. The model being used of how to proceed is milk, which evolved to make healthy mammals healthier. Milk is the only bio-material that has evolved under the Darwinian selection pressure for the purpose of nourishing growing mammals. Survival of offspring exerted a strong selective pressure on the biochemical evolution of lactation. This process has led to the appearance of new compositional properties of milk that promote health, strength and ultimately survival. This evolutionary logic is the basis of the research program to discover physical, functional and nutritional properties of milk components.

Awards & Honors

  • Mention D'Honneur Du Jury, ACADEMI MORIM, France, 1995
  • John E Kinsella endowed chair University of California, 1997-2003
  • G. Malcolm Trout visiting Professor Michigan State University, 2000
  • Visser Professor Wageningen University September, 2001
  • NUTRIM professor Maastricht University the Netherlands, 2002
  • Named to Most Highly Cited Scientists by ISI Index, 2002-present

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