Clara Cho, Nutritional Sciences

Student Name:  Clara E. Cho, PhD
Supervisor’s Name:  G. Harvey Anderson, PhD
Executive Director, Child Centre for Nutrition, Health and Development
Director, Program in Food Safety, Nutrition and Regulatory Affairs
Professor, Nutritional Sciences and Physiology, University of Toronto
PhD Thesis: Role of methyl group vitamins in hypothalamic development of food intake regulation in Wistar rats

This research was the first to report that a high intake of vitamins involved in one-carbon metabolism (folate, vitamins B12 and B6) during pregnancy contributes to the obesogenic phenotypes and epigenetic alterations of the hypothalamic feeding pathways in the offspring (Mol Nutr Food Res 2015;59:476-89; Appl Physiol Nutr Metab 2014;39:844). This work also provided the first evidence that the hypothalamic feeding pathways are modified by vitamin composition of the maternal and post-weaning diets (Int J Obes 2013;37:1177-82; Epigenetics 2013;8:710-9). Increasing the vitamin content of the pup diets (i.e., matching the vitamin content between the maternal and pup diets) prevented the obesogenic phenotypes associated with high vitamin diets during pregnancy. This work has implications in human health because methyl vitamins are promoted for consumption during pregnancy and they impact development through epigenetic modification of gene expression. The concept of dynamic plasticity of the hypothalamic feeding pathways also suggests that the epigenetic effects of maternal diets can be reversed or modified by the pup diets to reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

Dr. Clara Cho received her PhD in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Toronto in 2014. She was a postdoctoral fellow in the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University from 2014-2016 and investigated the impact of diet and gut microbiota on trimethylamine-N-oxide production and fate in humans.

Currently, Dr. Cho is a tenure-track Assistant Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Dietetics and Food Sciences at Utah State University and an associate member of Applied Nutrition Research Team for the Utah Science Technology and Research Initiative. Her research focuses on methyl nutrients and one-carbon metabolism as determinants of chronic disease risk including obesity and metabolic syndrome. Her laboratory takes a multi-pronged approach using animal models and human studies to address mechanistic questions from genetic, epigenetic, physiologic, metabolic and microbiome perspectives.

Publications:
Taesuwan S*, Cho CE*, Malysheva OV, Bender E, Yan J, Thalacker-Mercer AE, Caudill MA. The metabolic fate of isotopically labeled trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO) in humans. J Nutr Biochem 2017; Accepted. *Shared first-authors

Cho CE, Caudill MA. Trimethylamine-N-oxide: friend, foe or simply caught in the cross-fire? Trends Endocrinol Metab 2017; 28(2):121-130.

Cho CE, Taesuwan S, Malysheva OV, Bender E, Yan J, Caudill MA. Choline and one-carbon metabolite response to egg, beef and fish among healthy young men: a short-term randomized clinical study. Clin Nutr Exp 2016; 10:1-11.

Sánchez-Hernández D, Anderson GH, Poon AN, Pannia E, Cho CE, Huot PS, Kubant R. Maternal fat-soluble vitamins, brain development, and regulation of feeding behavior: an overview of research. Nutr Res 2016; 36(10):1045-54.

Cho CE, Taesuwan S, Malysheva OV, Bender E, Tulchinsky NF, Yan J, Sutter JL, Caudill MA. Trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO) response to animal source foods varies among healthy young men and is influenced by their gut microbiota composition: A randomized controlled trial. Mol Nutr Food Res 2016; 61(1) doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201600324.

Featured in a Special Issue on Gut Microbiota in Mol Nutr Food Res with an image on the cover highlighting the research findings

Pannia E, Cho CE, Kubant R, Sánchez-Hernández D, Huot PS, Anderson GH. Role of maternal vitamins in programming health and chronic disease. Nutr Rev 2016; 74(3):166-80.

Sánchez-Hernández D, Poon AN, Kubant R, Kim H, Huot PS, Cho CE, Pannia E, Reza-López SA, Pausova Z, Bazinet RP, Anderson GH. High vitamin A intake during pregnancy modifies dopaminergic reward system and decreases preference for sucrose in Wistar rat offspring. J Nutr Biochem 2016; 27:104-11.

Kubant R, Poon AN, Sánchez-Hernández D, Domenichiello AF, Huot PS, Pannia E, Cho CE, Hunschede S, Bazinet RP, Anderson GH. A comparison of effects of lard and hydrogenated vegetable shortening on the development of high-fat diet-induced obesity in rats. Nutr Diabetes 2015; 5:e188.

Cho CE, Pannia E, Huot PS, Sánchez-Hernández D, Kubant R, Dodington DW, Ward WE, Bazinet RP, Anderson GH. Methyl vitamins contribute to obesogenic effects of a high multivitamin gestational diet and epigenetic alterations in hypothalamic feeding pathways in Wistar rat offspring. Mol Nutr Food Res 2015; 59(3):476-89.

Sánchez-Hernández D, Poon AN, Kubant R, Kim H, Huot PS, Cho CE, Pannia E, Pausova Z, Anderson GH. A gestational diet high in fat soluble vitamins alters expression of genes in brain pathways and reduces sucrose preference, but not food intake, in Wistar male rat offspring. Appl Physiol Nutr 2015; 40:424-31.

Pannia E, Cho CE, Kubant R, Sánchez-Hernández D, Huot PS, Chatterjee D, Fleming A, Anderson GH. A high multivitamin diet fed to Wistar rat dams during pregnancy increases maternal weight gain later in life and alters homeostatic, hedonic and peripheral regulatory systems of energy balance. Behav Brain Resr 2014; 278C:1-11.

Cho CE. Role of methyl group vitamins in hypothalamic development of food intake regulation in Wistar rats. App Physiol Nutr Metab 2014; 39(7):844.

Sánchez-Hernández D, Cho CE, Kubant R, Reza-López SA, Poon AN, Wang J, Huot PS, Smith CE, Anderson GH. Increasing vitamin A in post-weaning diets reduces food intake and body weight and modifies gene expression in brains of male rats born to dams fed a high multivitamin diet. J Nutr Biochem 2014; 25(10):991-6.

Cho CE, Sánchez-Hernández D, Reza-López SA, Huot PS, Kim YI and Anderson GH. High folate gestational and post-weaning diets alter hypothalamic feeding pathways by DNA methylation in Wistar rat offspring. Epigenetics 2013; 8(7):710-9.

Featured highlight of the journal
Generated a press release

Cho CE, Sánchez-Hernández D, Reza-López SA, Huot PS, Kim YI and Anderson GH. Obesogenic phenotype of offspring of dams fed a high multivitamin diet is prevented by a post-weaning high multivitamin or high folate diet. Int J Obes (Lond) 2013; 37(9):1177-82.

Featured highlight of the journal

Cho CE and Norman M. Reply: To PMID 22939691. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2013; 209(5):496-7.

Cho CE and Norman M. Cesarean Section and Development of the Immune System in the Offspring. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2013; 208(4):249-54.

Highlighted in editorials:

Lynch CD and Iams JD. Diseases resulting from suboptimal immune function in offspring: is cesarean delivery itself really to blame? Am J Obstet Gynecol 2012.
Romero R and Korzeniewski SJ. Is there a long-term price to pay for infants not exposed to the stress of labor? How the microbiome and the immune system can affect our lives. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2012.

Huot PS, Dodington DW, Mollard RC, Reza-López SA, Sánchez-Hernández D, Cho CE, Kuk J, Ward WE, Anderson GH. High folic acid intake during pregnancy lowers body weight and reduces femoral area and strength in female rat offspring. J Osteoporos 2013; 2013:154109.

Anderson GH, Cho CE, Akhavan T, Mollard RC, Luhovyy BL, Finocchiaro ET. Relation between estimates of cornstarch digestibility by the Englyst in vitro method and glycemic response, subjective appetite, and short-term food intake in young men. Am J Clin Nutr 2010; 91(4):932-9.

Akhavan T, Luhovyy BL, Brown PH, Cho CE, Anderson GH. Effect of premeal consumption of whey protein and its hydrolysate on food intake and postmeal glycemia and insulin responses in young adults. Am J Clin Nutr 2010; 91(4):966-75.

Select awards:
Postdoctoral Fellowship, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
Award Finalist, American Society for Nutrition, Postdoctoral Research Award Competition, Experimental Biology 2016
Doctoral Post-Graduate Scholarship, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
Award Finalist, American Society for Nutrition, Graduate Research Award Competition, Experimental Biology 2014
Poster Award, American Society for Nutrition, Nutrition-Gene Interaction (NGI) Research Interest Section (RIS), Experimental Biology 2013
Poster Award, American Society for Nutrition, Student Interest Group (SIG), Experimental Biology 2013

Alum of Clara Cho, Nutritional Sciences

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