Staff highlights

Purna C. Kashyap, MBBS, principal investigator

Dr. Kashyap completed his medical school training at Bangalore Medical College in India before moving to the U.S. He completed his internal medicine residency at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas. His fellowship was in gastroenterology and hepatology at Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minn., with a focus on gastrointestinal motility (GI) disorders. His interest in the role of gut microbiota in maintaining normal GI function led him to spend two years in Dr. Justin Sonnenburg's laboratory at Stanford University studying microbial ecology. Combining his expertise in GI physiology and microbial ecology, Dr. Kashyap hopes to understand the mechanisms by which gut microbes alter GI motility and their relevance to GI motility disorders in the context of different dietary nutrients.

Christopher S. Reigstad, Ph.D., senior research fellow

Dr. Reigstad earned his B.S. in biology summa cum laude from the University of Minnesota and his Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis under the mentorship of Jeffrey I. Gordon, M.D., at the Center for Genome Sciences. He received postdoctoral training "across the pond" with Fredrik Bäckhed, M.D., at the University of Gothenburg (Sweden) studying the impact of intestinal microbes on host gene expression, metabolism and physiology. At Mayo Clinic, he focuses on understanding the influence of gut microbes and microbially produced compounds on GI motility in health and disease, as well as the relationship between diet and the gut microbiota.

John F. Rainey III, research technologist

John Rainey earned his B.A. in biology from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, with a focus on human biology, chemistry and neurology. As an undergraduate, he tutored underclassmen in biology and psychology, led and directed student groups on analyzing hormone secretion after mediation, and measured physiologic effects of emotional responses at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics neurology department. He is interested in understanding the effect of gut microbial products on serotonin-producing enterochromaffin cells in the intestinal mucosa, which are important in regulation of colonic motility.

Charles E. Salmonson, gnotobiotic specialist

Charles Salmonson earned his B.S. in biology from the University of Wisconsin-Superior. His interest in sciences was piqued while working for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms Research Branch in Duluth, Minn. He began working for Mayo Clinic as an animal care technician for the Department of Comparative Medicine, where he earned his Laboratory Animal Technician certification from the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science. After a brief training period at Stanford University, he helped set up the current gnotobiotic facility at Mayo Clinic. His focus is managing the complex needs of the gnotobiotic facility and supporting the research requirements of Mayo Clinic's principal investigators.

Vayu Maini Rekdal, undergraduate research fellow

Vayu Maini Rekdal is a biology and biochemistry student at Carleton College. He is interested in exploring how science can transform the physiological experience of food. At Mayo, he is exploring the role of diet-microbial interactions in regulating GI motility. Combining next-generation sequencing technology with changes in GI physiology, he hopes to identify the mechanisms by which complex carbohydrates influence host gastrointestinal motility. He is the recipient of several research fellowships, including a Howard Hughes Medical Institute-funded Summer Medical Fellows Program and the Mayo Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship.