My research is situated where nutrition, the human microbiome, and chronic disease epidemiology intersect. My research program has several key objectives: understanding the interindividual variability in response to diet, discovering novel biomarkers predictive of aging-related chronic diseases, and informing personalized dietary approaches for more effective prevention of cardiometabolic disease and Alzheimer's dementia. To achieve these aims, our ongoing research initiatives integrate epidemiological methods, bioinformatic tools, and emerging 'omics technologies. Furthermore, we employ a multi-omics approach, encompassing metagenomics, metatranscriptomics, and metabolomics, to decode the functional role of the microbial community in human health.
I currently serve as the PI of an R01 project (R01AG077489) that investigates the interactions between healthy dietary patterns and the gut microbiome to enhance the dietary prevention of Alzheimer's dementia. In this NIA-funded project, we have identified dysbiosis-related markers, such as Veillonella spp. and the opportunistic pathogen Erysipelatoclostridium ramosum, as indicators of cognitive decline in the Nurses' Health Study II (Ma et al. Neurology. 2023). I am also the PI of another R01 project (R01NR019992), which aims to understand the role of gut microbiome, interacting with host genetics and metabolic status, in explaining interindividual variations in metabolic risk changes following dietary interventions in two randomized controlled dietary trials. This project also investigates the combined effects of Mediterranean diet interventions and autologous fecal microbiota transplantation. Furthermore, I serve as the PI of an R00 project (R00DK119412) that examines the associations between the Mediterranean diet, dietary polyphenols, the gut microbiome, body adiposity, and biomarkers of type 2 diabetes in the DIRECT-PLUS Trial, the Study of Latinos, and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. In this R00 project, we found, for the first time, that the associations of a Mediterranean dietary pattern with blood biomarkers and prevalence of type 2 diabetes varied in individuals with different gut microbial profiles in white (Wang et al. Nature Medicine. 2021) and Hispanic populations (Wang et al. JCEM. 2022).