The purpose of this award is to foster innovative research, on which the scientific advancement of the profession depends, by recognizing outstanding research effort and productivity. Each year a UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine faculty member is honored with the Zoetis Award for Research Excellence. The School's Office of Research and Graduate Education accepts nominations for consideration by the Research Committee.
Dr. Helen Raybould, is honored for her outstanding research clarifying the relationship between long-term changes in the macronutrient content of the diet, how that influences the gut microbiome, and how their interactions influence obesity and gut inflammatory responses.
With nearly three decades of continuous NIH and other grant support, Raybould continues to investigate the inter-relationships of diet, gut microbiota, intestinal barrier function, and the neural regulation of satiety in the genesis of obesity. Recent work has demonstrated that diet-induced obesity changes afferent neural input to the brain, attenuating satiety and contributing to increased consumption.
Her research advances the understanding of processes leading to inflammatory bowel disease and metabolic disorders. In a highly-cited paper published in 2010 in the American Journal of Physiology – Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology, her team provided the first evidence that consumption of a high-fat diet induces changes in the gut microbiota, but it is the development of inflammation that is associated with the appearance of hyperphagia and an obese phenotype. Her studies are identifying new targets to treat and prevent obesity, and have highlighted how the microbiota-gut-brain axis is involved.
Raybould received her PhD in 1986 from University of Liverpool in the UK. She joined the school’s faculty in 2000 in the department of Anatomy, Physiology and Cell Biology where she has engaged in pioneering research, DVM and graduate student teaching and service, including leadership as department chair from 2007-2012. In 2008, she was recognized by the American Gastroenterology Association (AGA), as one of the Outstand¬ing AGA Women in Science.
Without equivocation, Raybould is regarded as a leader in the field of gut brain interaction. Her work is published in top tier journals, reflects mentorship of trainees, and attracts invited speaking opportunities and dissemination through invitations to contribute chapters to reference texts.