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Tzu-Wen Cross, PhD

Dr. Tzu-Wen CrossDr. Tzu-Wen Cross is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Nutrition Science at Purdue University. She earned her B.S. in Human Nutrition and Dietetics from Taipei Medical University in Taiwan, M.S. in Nutrition Sciences from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and Ph.D. in Nutrition Sciences from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Cross was an NIH T32 Postdoctoral Fellow in the Translational Cardiovascular Science Training Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison before joining Purdue. Prior to starting her graduate career, Dr. Cross worked as a licensed and registered dietitian in Taiwan helping patients undergoing bariatric surgeries with their dietary needs.
Dr. Cross’ research largely focuses on understanding how our gut microbiome impacts health and disease, intending to identify dietary strategies to modify disease susceptibilities and reduce the risk of disease. Diseases with sexual dimorphism (e.g., obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, certain forms of cancer, and Parkinson’s disease) are of particular interest, as the microbes harbored in our gut can modulate sex hormones and affect binding affinity and hormonal homeostasis. Due to the complex nature of microbial communities residing in our gastrointestinal tract, Dr. Cross’ research team mainly utilizes rodent models to explore host-microbial interactions to infer human health. Specifically, a mouse model free of any types of microorganisms (i.e., germ-free) is utilized, so that they can be colonized with specific microbial communities of interest, such as those coming from the human gut. Because diet is among the most significant and modifiable determinants of the gut microbiome, we aim to develop therapeutically useful gut microbiome modulators to improve human health.


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