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Robert Chapkin

Chapkin , Robert
Robert Chapkin
Distinguished Professor, University Faculty Fellow, Regents Fellow & AgriLife Senior Faculty Fellow
111 Cater-Mattil
Undergraduate Education
BSc. in Nutrition and Biochemistry, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada, 1981
Graduate Education
MSc. in Nutrition, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada, 1983
Ph.D. in Nutrition and Physiological Chemistry, University of California, Davis, California, 1986
Post-doc, Cell Biology, University of California - Davis, 1988
2016-2023 - NCI Outstanding Investigator Awardee (R35)
2015-2016 - President Sigma Xi (Texas A&M Chapter)
2014 - Texas A&M University System Distinguished Professor
2013 - American Society for Nutrition (ASN) Osborne and Mendel Award
2011 - Texas A&M University Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Award in Research
2010-Present - Texas A&M University System Regents Professor
2009 - Vegetable & Fruit Improvement Center, Texas AgriLife Research Director’s Award
2008 - NASA Space Act Award
2007 - Senior Faculty Fellow, Texas A&M University
2006 - Sigma Xi Distinguished Scientist Award, Texas A&M University Chapter
2001-Present - Texas A&M University Faculty Fellow
2000 - Texas Agricultural Experimentation Station (TAES) Faculty Fellow
1996 - American Society for Nutrition (ASN) Bio Serv Award in Experimental Animal Nutrition
1995 - American Oil Chemists' Society, Outstanding Paper Presentation
1991-1992 - PEW National Nutrition Program Faculty Scholar
1989-1994 - National Institutes of Health "First Award"
Courses Taught
NUTR 203: Scientific Principles of Nutrition
NUTR 642: Nutritional Biochemistry II


Position Openings

Mentoring Philosophy

Transparency, honesty and fairness are central tenets of his training and mentoring philosophy. Dr. Chapkin embraces both scientific rigor and transparency in accordance with NIH ethics guidelines. For example, all his trainees are counseled in the four areas deemed important for enhancing rigor and transparency that applies to the full spectrum of research, basic to clinical. Specifically:

  1. The scientific premise forming the basis of the proposed research.
  2. Rigorous experimental design and reporting of unbiased scientific results.
  3. Consideration of relevant biological variables.
  4. Authentication of key biological and chemical resources.

It is emphasized repeatedly that Dr. Chapkin expects all trainees will achieve robust and unbiased results. All his trainees participate in program-sponsored seminars and an ethics class offered by several of the Departments with interest in Cancer Prevention. In addition, since he is a member of an NCI-funded T32 post-doctoral training program (T32-CA090301, formerly R25-CA090301) in Nutrition, Biostatistics & Bioinformatics (http://www.stat.tamu.edu/train/), his lab members have the opportunity to interact with statistically oriented trainees (Biostatisticians, Statisticians, Engineers, Mathematicians, Computer Scientists, etc.) who are developing new statistical and computational methods that are tailored to the biology of Nutrition and Cancer.

Research Interest

Research in the Chapkin lab focuses on dietary/microbial modulators related to the prevention of cancer and chronic inflammatory diseases. Our central goal is to (1) understand cancer chemoprevention at a fundamental level, and (2) to test pharmaceutical agents in combination with dietary/microbial (countermeasures to the Western diet) to more effectively improve gut health and reduce systemic chronic inflammation.  Since diet influences gut microbiota composition and metabolite production, to unravel the interrelationships among gut health and the structure of the gut microbial ecosystem, we are in the process of evaluating (using transgenic mouse, Drosophila models and humans) how the gut microbiome modulates intestinal cells, innate immune cells and tumors.

Research Area

Biochemical Mechanisms of Marine and Plant Species-Derived Bioactive Agents:  Role in Immune Modulation and Chemoprevention.


  1. Whitfield-Cargile, CM, Cohen, ND, He, K, Ivanov, I, Goldsby, JS, Chamoun-Emanuelli, A et al.. The non-invasive exfoliated transcriptome (exfoliome) reflects the tissue-level transcriptome in a mouse model of NSAID enteropathy. Sci Rep. 2017;7 (1):14687. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-13999-5. PubMed PMID:29089621 PubMed Central PMC5665873.
  2. Wei, Q, Lee, JH, Wang, H, Bongmba, OYN, Wu, CS, Pradhan, G et al.. Adiponectin is required for maintaining normal body temperature in a cold environment. BMC Physiol. 2017;17 (1):8. doi: 10.1186/s12899-017-0034-7. PubMed PMID:29058611 PubMed Central PMC5651620.
  3. Jin, UH, Cheng, Y, Park, H, Davidson, LA, Callaway, ES, Chapkin, RS et al.. Short Chain Fatty Acids Enhance Aryl Hydrocarbon (Ah) Responsiveness in Mouse Colonocytes and Caco-2 Human Colon Cancer Cells. Sci Rep. 2017;7 (1):10163. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-10824-x. PubMed PMID:28860561 PubMed Central PMC5579248.
  4. Kumar, R, Herold, JL, Schady, D, Davis, J, Kopetz, S, Martinez-Moczygemba, M et al.. Streptococcus gallolyticus subsp. gallolyticus promotes colorectal tumor development. PLoS Pathog. 2017;13 (7):e1006440. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1006440. PubMed PMID:28704539 PubMed Central PMC5509344.
  5. Seidel, DV, Azcárate-Peril, MA, Chapkin, RS, Turner, ND. Shaping functional gut microbiota using dietary bioactives to reduce colon cancer risk. Semin. Cancer Biol. 2017;46 :191-204. doi: 10.1016/j.semcancer.2017.06.009. PubMed PMID:28676459 PubMed Central PMC5626600.
  6. Kim, E, Ivanov, I, Hua, J, Lampe, JW, Hullar, MA, Chapkin, RS et al.. The Model-Based Study of the Effectiveness of Reporting Lists of Small Feature Sets Using RNA-Seq Data. Cancer Inform. 2017;16 :1176935117710530. doi: 10.1177/1176935117710530. PubMed PMID:28659712 PubMed Central PMC5470876.
  7. Armstrong, CM, Allred, KF, Weeks, BR, Chapkin, RS, Allred, CD. Estradiol Has Differential Effects on Acute Colonic Inflammation in the Presence and Absence of Estrogen Receptor β Expression. Dig. Dis. Sci. 2017;62 (8):1977-1984. doi: 10.1007/s10620-017-4631-x. PubMed PMID:28573506 .
  8. Triff, K, McLean, MW, Konganti, K, Pang, J, Callaway, E, Zhou, B et al.. Assessment of histone tail modifications and transcriptional profiling during colon cancer progression reveals a global decrease in H3K4me3 activity. Biochim. Biophys. Acta. 2017;1863 (6):1392-1402. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2017.03.009. PubMed PMID:28315775 PubMed Central PMC5474136.
  9. Navarro, SL, Neuhouser, ML, Cheng, TD, Tinker, LF, Shikany, JM, Snetselaar, L et al.. The Interaction between Dietary Fiber and Fat and Risk of Colorectal Cancer in the Women's Health Initiative. Nutrients. 2016;8 (12):. doi: 10.3390/nu8120779. PubMed PMID:27916893 PubMed Central PMC5188434.
  10. Cheng, Y, Jin, UH, Davidson, LA, Chapkin, RS, Jayaraman, A, Tamamis, P et al.. Editor's Highlight: Microbial-Derived 1,4-Dihydroxy-2-naphthoic Acid and Related Compounds as Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor Agonists/Antagonists: Structure-Activity Relationships and Receptor Modeling. Toxicol. Sci. 2017;155 (2):458-473. doi: 10.1093/toxsci/kfw230. PubMed PMID:27837168 PubMed Central PMC5291215.
  11. Kim, E, Davidson, LA, Zoh, RS, Hensel, ME, Salinas, ML, Patil, BS et al.. Rapidly cycling Lgr5(+) stem cells are exquisitely sensitive to extrinsic dietary factors that modulate colon cancer risk. Cell Death Dis. 2016;7 (11):e2460. doi: 10.1038/cddis.2016.269. PubMed PMID:27831561 PubMed Central PMC5260883.
  12. Fan, YY, Davidson, LA, Chapkin, RS. Murine Colonic Organoid Culture System and Downstream Assay Applications. Methods Mol. Biol. 2016; :. doi: 10.1007/7651_2016_8. PubMed PMID:27539462 PubMed Central PMC5316509.
  13. Hou, TY, Davidson, LA, Kim, E, Fan, YY, Fuentes, NR, Triff, K et al.. Nutrient-Gene Interaction in Colon Cancer, from the Membrane to Cellular Physiology. Annu. Rev. Nutr. 2016;36 :543-70. doi: 10.1146/annurev-nutr-071715-051039. PubMed PMID:27431370 PubMed Central PMC5034935.
  14. Knight, JM, Kim, E, Ivanov, I, Davidson, LA, Goldsby, JS, Hullar, MA et al.. Comprehensive site-specific whole genome profiling of stromal and epithelial colonic gene signatures in human sigmoid colon and rectal tissue. Physiol. Genomics. 2016;48 (9):651-9. doi: 10.1152/physiolgenomics.00023.2016. PubMed PMID:27401218 PubMed Central PMC5111881.
  15. Kim, SM, Neuendorff, N, Chapkin, RS, Earnest, DJ. Role of Inflammatory Signaling in the Differential Effects of Saturated and Poly-unsaturated Fatty Acids on Peripheral Circadian Clocks. EBioMedicine. 2016;7 :100-11. doi: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2016.03.037. PubMed PMID:27322464 PubMed Central PMC4913702.
  16. Fan, YY, Vaz, FM, Chapkin, RS. Dietary fat and fiber interactively modulate apoptosis and mitochondrial bioenergetic profiles in mouse colon in a site-specific manner. Eur. J. Cancer Prev. 2017;26 (4):301-308. doi: 10.1097/CEJ.0000000000000263. PubMed PMID:27167153 PubMed Central PMC5104678.
  17. DeClercq, VC, Goldsby, JS, McMurray, DN, Chapkin, RS. Distinct Adipose Depots from Mice Differentially Respond to a High-Fat, High-Salt Diet. J. Nutr. 2016;146 (6):1189-96. doi: 10.3945/jn.115.227496. PubMed PMID:27146921 PubMed Central PMC4877629.
  18. Zoh, RS, Mallick, B, Ivanov, I, Baladandayuthapani, V, Manyam, G, Chapkin, RS et al.. PCAN: Probabilistic correlation analysis of two non-normal data sets. Biometrics. 2016;72 (4):1358-1368. doi: 10.1111/biom.12516. PubMed PMID:27037601 PubMed Central PMC5045754.
  19. Whitfield-Cargile, CM, Cohen, ND, Chapkin, RS, Weeks, BR, Davidson, LA, Goldsby, JS et al.. The microbiota-derived metabolite indole decreases mucosal inflammation and injury in a murine model of NSAID enteropathy. Gut Microbes. 2016;7 (3):246-61. doi: 10.1080/19490976.2016.1156827. PubMed PMID:27007819 PubMed Central PMC4939928.
  20. Shah, MS, Kim, E, Davidson, LA, Knight, JM, Zoh, RS, Goldsby, JS et al.. Data describing the effects of dietary bioactive agents on colonic stem cell microRNA and mRNA expression. Data Brief. 2016;6 :398-404. doi: 10.1016/j.dib.2015.12.026. PubMed PMID:26862588 PubMed Central PMC4707287.
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