Ms. Tiffany Fillier
Supervisors: Dr. Raymond Thomas and Dr. Sukhinder
Ms. Fillier is the recipient of two ARC-NL Graduate Fellowships. Her 2019 Graduate Fellowship was for her project entitled,
The Role of Microbial Metabolities in Spatiality Altering Brain Lipid Metabolism and the Associated Changes in Behavioral Functions. Her 2020 Fellowship was for her project entitled, Brain Health Consequences Following Alterations in Brian Lipid Metabolism, Energetics and Cell viability After Treatment with Gut Microbial Metabolites.
ARC-NL: What piqued your interest in this area of research?
I have always had a passion for biology. After completing a degree in Environmental Biology, I moved from ecosystems and organisms to neuroscience and biochemistry. The brain continues to be one of the mysteries of human health and disease. Thus, making neuroscience research crucial to the human condition, including aging.
ARC-NL: Can you please provide a brief synopsis of your specific project?
My project is analyzing alterations in brain lipids after exposure to short chain fatty acids. Short chain fatty acids are produced within the gut in varying concentrations based on diet, stress, etc. These acids can be carried through the blood to the brain. Lipids are mostly fats that make up a part of the structure and function of cells within the body, including the brain. Alterations in lipids have been connected to health and disease, including aging related neurodegenerative diseases and behaviours. I am analyzing lipid alterations due to short chain fatty acids in both rat brain and cultured neuronal brain cells.
ARC-NL: How did getting the support of the ARC-NL Graduate Fellowships assist you with your project?
The ARC-NL fellowships support has allowed me to pursue my love of biology and passion for learning under the perspective of human health and disease.
ARC-NL: How do you feel your research will benefit the aging population of Newfoundland and Labrador? Canada?
My research will benefit aging populations, as well as general populations, all over the world. Short chain fatty acids production can differ based on diet, stress, etc. Understanding the pathways of how these affect the brain in terms of aging and diseases, such as autism, anxiety, Alzheimer's, etc. is crucial to brain and overall health.
ARC-NL: Is there any past experience that you feel is pertinent to your success today?
In the past, during my time as an undergraduate in Environmental Biology, I worked as a Research Assistant under Dr. Julie Sircom. I am grateful for this position as it kickstarted my passion for research. I am also grateful to graduate school supervisor Dr. Raymond Thomas for always supporting me and helping me through the transition to biochemistry.