Scott Peterson, Ph.D.

Scott Peterson's Research Focus

Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, Prostate Cancer, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Inflammatory/Autoimmune Disease, Autoimmune Disease

Dr. Peterson studies the human gut microbiome focused on cancer. Research in both colon cancer and melanoma highlight that gut microbes play both a pathogenic role in inducing colon cancer but also, in the case of distal cancers like melanoma, play a role in activating the immune system to attack distal tumors. The Peterson lab has focused on the use of prebiotics that provide unique “foods” for select microbes that increase their abundance and provide health benefits for their host.

Scott Peterson's Research Report

The gastrointestinal tract harbors trillions of bacteria that have evolved to provide health benefits to their human hosts. Left undisturbed this relationship is preserved throughout the human lifespan. However, multitudes of environmental effects such as the consumption of a high fat diet, low in dietary fiber, lack of exercise and proper sleep can disturb this interaction and allow changes in the gut microbiome that promote disease. The study of prebiotics, dietary fiber that help to maintain healthy microbes has allowed us to identify ways of restoring healthy gut microbes to maintain health and reverse human disease. We have demonstrated the powerful ability of prebiotics and medicinal herbs to alter the bacteria present in our gut in models of obesity and cancer. In the case of obesity, we have demonstrated that feeding mice the simple sugar mannose in conjunction with a high fat diet, alters the gut microbes preventing the detrimental impact of high fat diet, such as obesity and type 2 diabetes. Similarly, feeding mice either of two prebiotic fibers, inulin or mucin alters the populations of bacteria in the gut in such a way to stimulate the host immune system to mount effective anti-tumor responses. These studies not only highlight the importance of our gut microbes in health but also provide a means for developing new therapies in the form of probiotics (live bacteria that when ingested provide a health benefit to the host) that may help to prevent disease and reverse disease once diagnosed.

Scott Peterson's Bio

Peterson completed his Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and his undergraduate degree at Rutgers University. He joined the J. Craig Venter Institute in 1996, rising to the level of professor before coming to Sanford Burnham (now SBP) in 2012. He won the Visiting Lecturer Award from the University of Orsay in France.



Prebiotic-Induced Anti-tumor Immunity Attenuates Tumor Growth.

Li Y, Elmén L, Segota I, Xian Y, Tinoco R, Feng Y, Fujita Y, Segura Muñoz RR, Schmaltz R, Bradley LM, Ramer-Tait A, Zarecki R, Long T, Peterson SN, Ronai ZA

Cell Rep 2020 Feb 11 ;30(6):1753-1766.e6

Gut microbiota dependent anti-tumor immunity restricts melanoma growth in Rnf5-/- mice.

Li Y, Tinoco R, Elmén L, Segota I, Xian Y, Fujita Y, Sahu A, Zarecki R, Marie K, Feng Y, Khateb A, Frederick DT, Ashkenazi SK, Kim H, Perez EG, Day CP, Segura Muñoz RS, Schmaltz R, Yooseph S, Tam MA, Zhang T, Avitan-Hersh E, Tzur L, Roizman S, Boyango I, Bar-Sela G, Orian A, Kaufman RJ, Bosenberg M, Goding CR, Baaten B, Levesque MP, Dummer R, Brown K, Merlino G, Ruppin E, Flaherty K, Ramer-Tait A, Long T, Peterson SN, Bradley LM, Ronai ZA

Nat Commun 2019 Apr 2 ;10(1):1492

Mannose Alters Gut Microbiome, Prevents Diet-Induced Obesity, and Improves Host Metabolism.

Sharma V, Smolin J, Nayak J, Ayala JE, Scott DA, Peterson SN, Freeze HH

Cell Rep 2018 Sep 18 ;24(12):3087-3098

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Cannabis and the Gut-Brain Axis Communication in HIV Infection.

Wilson NL, Peterson SN, Ellis RJ

Cannabis Cannabinoid Res 2021 Apr ;6(2):92-104

Identification of bacteria-derived HLA-bound peptides in melanoma.

Kalaora S, Nagler A, Nejman D, Alon M, Barbolin C, Barnea E, Ketelaars SLC, Cheng K, Vervier K, Shental N, Bussi Y, Rotkopf R, Levy R, Benedek G, Trabish S, Dadosh T, Levin-Zaidman S, Geller LT, Wang K, Greenberg P, Yagel G, Peri A, Fuks G, Bhardwaj N, Reuben A, Hermida L, Johnson SB, Galloway-Peña JR, Shropshire WC, Bernatchez C, Haymaker C, Arora R, Roitman L, Eilam R, Weinberger A, Lotan-Pompan M, Lotem M, Admon A, Levin Y, Lawley TD, Adams DJ, Levesque MP, Besser MJ, Schachter J, Golani O, Segal E, Geva-Zatorsky N, Ruppin E, Kvistborg P, Peterson SN, Wargo JA, Straussman R, Samuels Y

Nature 2021 Apr ;592(7852):138-143

Gut microbiota dysbiosis is associated with worse emotional states in HIV infection.

Pérez-Santiago J, Marquine MJ, Cookson D, Giraud-Colón R, Heaton RK, Grant I, Ellis RJ, Letendre SL, Peterson SN

J Neurovirol 2021 Apr ;27(2):228-238

Community Metabolic Interactions, Vitamin Production and Prebiotic Potential of Medicinal Herbs Used for Immunomodulation.

Peterson CT, Iablokov SN, Uchitel S, Chopra D, Perez-Santiago J, Rodionov DA, Peterson SN

Front Genet 2021 ;12:584197

High-dose saccharin supplementation does not induce gut microbiota changes or glucose intolerance in healthy humans and mice.

Serrano J, Smith KR, Crouch AL, Sharma V, Yi F, Vargova V, LaMoia TE, Dupont LM, Serna V, Tang F, Gomes-Dias L, Blakeslee JJ, Hatzakis E, Peterson SN, Anderson M, Pratley RE, Kyriazis GA

Microbiome 2021 Jan 12 ;9(1):11

B Vitamins and Their Role in Immune Regulation and Cancer.

Peterson CT, Rodionov DA, Osterman AL, Peterson SN

Nutrients 2020 Nov 4 ;12(11)

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