Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Interdisciplinary Studies (MIS)


Biomedical Sciences

First Advisor

Andrew Gewirtz


Diets rich in fiber are known to have significant health benefits, but patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have reported an increase in disease symptoms while on such diets. Thus, IBD patients are recommended to eat low fiber foods and are unable to gain health benefits from fiber. While it has been shown that genetic factors can play a role in the occurrence of IBD, environmental factors are thought to further induce IBD, specifically diet and its effect on the gut microbiota. The self-reporting from IBD patients has been supported with studies in which the fiber inulin added to a low fiber diet has caused increased severity of colitis; conversely, a diet of a standard mouse chow containing naturally occurring dietary fiber has shown resistance to the same colitis murine models. Similarly, metabolic syndrome is a cluster of health conditions related to inflammation and diet, with studies finding dietary fiber capable of reducing metabolic syndrome symptoms. From these findings, wheat and oat fibers have been analyzed to determine if they provide protection against colitis and diet-induced obesity in murine models. After performing the in vivo models, wheat fiber provided protective benefits against IBD and metabolic syndrome. With these results, patients with IBD or metabolic syndrome will be able to consume a dietary fiber that will significantly reduce their disease severity or potentially eliminate manifestations of IBD and reverse metabolic syndrome conditions.