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Stephanie Collins

BMMB Graduate Student-Patterson Lab
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The Patterson Lab

About Me

In 2015, I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry & Cell Biology at Western University in London, Canada. Following a summer research internship, I pursued my Master’s degree in Microbiology & Immunology under the supervision of Dr. Gregor Reid also at Western University, where I studied the impact of carbohydrates on the composition and metabolism of the vaginal microbiome. I then moved to State College to pursue my PhD here at Penn State!


Research Interest

My research uses metabolomics and a systems-level approach to understand the intersection of the human gut microbiota with xenobiotic metabolism.


Research Summary

Ingested xenobiotics, including drugs and environmental pollutants, are metabolized and excreted from the body to prevent toxic accumulation. Microbes in the gut have long been known to manipulate this process because of their ability to digest xenobiotics and modify host xenobiotic metabolism, but the mechanism of interaction remains unknown. Xenobiotic metabolism in mammals relies significantly on the activation of receptors such as the Pregnane X Receptor (PXR) and Constitutive Androgen Receptor (CAR), which regulate the expression of enzymes and transporters necessary for xenobiotic detoxification. My research aims to characterize the gut microbiome metabolites that act as agonists to PXR and how this may alter the metabolism of drugs and toxicants in the body. Advancements in the understanding of this host-microbial interaction will prevent unexpected drug side effects and interactions caused by the unique microorganisms inhabiting the body. 


Programs and Training Centers


Honors and Awards