Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design


Sport and Exercise Psychology

Committee Chair

Melissa D Olfert

Committee Co-Chair

Chris F Cuff

Committee Member

Ida Holaskova

Committee Member

Pamela J Murray

Committee Member

Mark Olfert

Committee Member

Janet Tou


Background: Poor dietary behaviors are widely recognized in the role of development and course of a variety of illnesses, including but not limited to cardiovascular disease, obesity, and diabetes. Young adults have increased risk due to poor dietary behaviors, especially as they transition into a college setting. The evidence demonstrates an urgency for developing treatment and prevention through dietary intervention approaches in this population. In addition to improper diet, investigators have connected abnormal gut microbiome (i.e. the collection of genes from our intestinal microbiota) to inflammation and obesity, therefore momentum has gained in treating the altered gut microbiome with dietary manipulation to decrease morbidity and mortality. Furthermore, research is moving towards metagenomic work to investigate mechanisms in disease progression that link genes that contribute to the microbes and the host.;Objective: By using young adults "at-risk" of disease, the FRUVEDomics pilot study investigated the effects of a dietary intervention, based on the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, on nutritional behaviors, the metabolome, and the microbiome. Additionally, relationships between the three variables were explored.;Methods: This pilot study stemmed as a subproject off of a USDA, Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) called 'Get Fruved', which ignited the collaboration of a team of scientist (nutrition, metabolomics, microbiome, cardiovascular, microcirculation and physiology) from West Virginia University (WVU) (Clinical Trials Record 1409433435). Thirty-six young adults were randomized into three diet plans; a FRUVED diet (50% fruit and vegetable), a FRUVED and low simple carbohydrate diet (FRUVED+LRC), and a FRUVED and low-fat diet (FRUVED+LF). Biochemical, anthropometric, serum, and fecal stool samples were collected pre and post intervention, along with subjective behavioral measurements via survey administration.;Results: The dietary intervention resulted in an adjusted dietary change for all individuals, which included increases in fruit and vegetables and total fiber, with simultaneous decreases in saturated fat and empty calories. No other lifestyle behavior modifications were seen during the course of the 8 weeks (i.e. sleep, physical activity and stress), therefore the decrease we observed in systolic blood pressure, waist circumference, and total cholesterol were due to the treatment of an overall healthy diet. Pro-inflammatory markers improved and decreases were observed in total ceramides after the intervention. Next generation sequencing of genomic DNA from fecal samples showed decreases in Firmicutes and increases in Bacteroidetes after dietary manipulation. At the family level, increases in S24-7 and Bacteroidaceae, and decreases in Ruminococcaceae were found. Relationships were found between dietary variables, serum amino acids, and bacteria.;Conclusion: The researchers of the FRUVEDomics study observed improvements in metabolic health and changes to microbial populations that have been linked to energy balance and lowered inflammation after adoption of a healthy diet among young adults attending a university. Overall, this study lays the foundation for personalized medicine among a college population. In particular, this translational, team science approach helped determine mechanisms by which microbes affect production of metabolites from diet.