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Biology
2020 Project Proposal

Metagenomic analysis of Capsicum spp dietary intervention sequences

Funmilola Ayeni (Biology)

Pepper (Capsicum spp) is a significant plant of the Solanaceae family, often regarded as one of the earliest spice used by humans. The frequent consumption of pepper in humans has been noted to result in gastrointestinal upset and other side effects. The momentary diarrhoea has been attributed to the irritation of the digestive system (stomach and intestinal linings) by Capsaicin, a potent ingredient in chili peppers which triggers certain receptors in the digestive system, resulting in burning sensation followed by rapid and hence inadequate processing of the food.

While the effect of pepper and hence Capsaicin on the physiology of the body is adequately understood, there is lack of information on the effect of its consumption on the human gut microbiota. Hence, there is need to understand the impact of its consumption on the quantity and composition of microorganisms in the gut. We hypothesize that dietary intervention with pepper in human volunteers will lead to changes in the composition and proportion of the intestinal microorganisms. Metagenomic sequences already obtained from 16S amplicon sequencing of extracted DNA  from volunteers` faecal samples will be analyzed with QIME2 software and different bioinformatic analysis will be done on them.

Prerequisites: 
1. Bioinformatics courses.   2. Ability to familiarize, learn and use new bioinformatics software and command lines

How should students express interest in this project?  
Interested students should send mail directly to fayeni@vassar.edu

This is a 10 week project running from May 27-July 31