B.S., Nutritional Sciences, Bastyr University
Ph.D., Nutritional Biology, University of California, Davis
Dr. Piccolo did postdoctoral fellowships in Bioinformatics at the West Coast Metabolomics Center and the USDA-ARS Western Human Nutrition Research Center at the University of California, Davis. He joined ACNC in 2015 and is now the Associate Director of the Biostatistics and Data Innovation Team. Outside of his work, Dr. Piccolo likes to cook and travel with his wife and enjoys racquetball and biking.
Dr. Piccolo’s research focuses on the interaction between diet, the gut microbiota, and host energy metabolism. Our research projects utilize preclinical models to understand how host related factors influence the composition and function of the gut microbiota. Further interests revolve around how complementary foods can be leveraged to optimize the development of the gastrointestinal tract during the introduction to solid food. The Piccolo laboratory also assists ACNC and other non-ACNC scientists with data analysis for metabolomics, microbial sequencing data, and various other high-throughput technologies. Multivariate approaches, including prediction modeling, network analysis, and non-supervised approaches are our key strengths. Our lab also leverages Shiny for data workflow solutions and interactive data visualization.
Current projects focus on the gut microbiome, which has been implicated as a potential regulator of host energy regulation, but the mechanisms in which it influences host metabolism is not well understood. Furthermore, most of our understanding is uni-directional (i.e., microbial signals to host) and very little is known about host-mediated signals that alter the ecology of the gut microbiome. We are using several models to better understand microbial and host crosstalk in order to optimize the metabolic influence of the gut microbiome through diet and exercise. Ongoing studies include identifying specific bacteria and metabolites that discriminate the progression of type-2-diabetes in the UC-Davis Type-2-Diabetes Mellitus Rat Model and identifying whether the gut microbiome and metabolome is modified by early exercise in post-weaned mice.