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Robert Chapkin

Chapkin , Robert
Robert Chapkin
Allen Endowed Chair in Nutrition & Chronic Disease Prevention, 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, 1986-1988

Courses Taught

NUTR 203: Scientific Principles of Nutrition
NUTR 642: Nutritional Biochemistry II


2016-2023 – NCI Outstanding Investigator Awardee (R35)
2017- Texas A&M University Association of Former Students, Distinguished Achievement Award in Graduate Mentoring
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”


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.


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  1. Safe, S, Han, H, Goldsby, J, Mohankumar, K, Chapkin, RS. Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor (AhR) Ligands as Selective AhR Modulators: Genomic Studies. Curr Opin Toxicol. ;11-12 :10-20. doi: 10.1016/j.cotox.2018.11.005. PubMed PMID:31453421 PubMed Central PMC6709982.
  2. Lampe, JW, Kim, E, Levy, L, Davidson, LA, Goldsby, JS, Miles, FL et al.. Colonic mucosal and exfoliome transcriptomic profiling and fecal microbiome response to a flaxseed lignan extract intervention in humans. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 2019;110 (2):377-390. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqy325. PubMed PMID:31175806 PubMed Central PMC6669062.
  3. Torres-Adorno, AM, Vitrac, H, Qi, Y, Tan, L, Levental, KR, Fan, YY et al.. Eicosapentaenoic acid in combination with EPHA2 inhibition shows efficacy in preclinical models of triple-negative breast cancer by disrupting cellular cholesterol efflux. Oncogene. 2019;38 (12):2135-2150. doi: 10.1038/s41388-018-0569-5. PubMed PMID:30459358 PubMed Central PMC6430703.
  4. Kim, E, Wright, GA, Zoh, RS, Patil, BS, Jayaprakasha, GK, Callaway, ES et al.. Establishment of a multicomponent dietary bioactive human equivalent dose to delete damaged Lgr5+ stem cells using a mouse colon tumor initiation model. Eur. J. Cancer Prev. 2019;28 (5):383-389. doi: 10.1097/CEJ.0000000000000465. PubMed PMID:30234553 PubMed Central PMC6422758.
  5. Erazo-Oliveras, A, Fuentes, NR, Wright, RC, Chapkin, RS. Functional link between plasma membrane spatiotemporal dynamics, cancer biology, and dietary membrane-altering agents. Cancer Metastasis Rev. 2018;37 (2-3):519-544. doi: 10.1007/s10555-018-9733-1. PubMed PMID:29860560 PubMed Central PMC6296755.
  6. Fuentes, NR, Mlih, M, Barhoumi, R, Fan, YY, Hardin, P, Steele, TJ et al.. Long-Chain n-3 Fatty Acids Attenuate Oncogenic KRas-Driven Proliferation by Altering Plasma Membrane Nanoscale Proteolipid Composition. Cancer Res. 2018;78 (14):3899-3912. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-18-0324. PubMed PMID:29769200 PubMed Central PMC6050089.
  7. Triff, K, McLean, MW, Callaway, E, Goldsby, J, Ivanov, I, Chapkin, RS et al.. Dietary fat and fiber interact to uniquely modify global histone post-translational epigenetic programming in a rat colon cancer progression model. Int. J. Cancer. 2018;143 (6):1402-1415. doi: 10.1002/ijc.31525. PubMed PMID:29659013 PubMed Central PMC6105390.
  8. Jin, UH, Park, H, Li, X, Davidson, LA, Allred, C, Patil, B et al.. Structure-Dependent Modulation of Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor-Mediated Activities by Flavonoids. Toxicol. Sci. 2018;164 (1):205-217. doi: 10.1093/toxsci/kfy075. PubMed PMID:29584932 PubMed Central PMC6016704.
  9. Kim, SM, Neuendorff, N, Alaniz, RC, Sun, Y, Chapkin, RS, Earnest, DJ et al.. Shift work cycle-induced alterations of circadian rhythms potentiate the effects of high-fat diet on inflammation and metabolism. FASEB J. 2018;32 (6):3085-3095. doi: 10.1096/fj.201700784R. PubMed PMID:29405095 PubMed Central PMC5956251.
  10. Fan, YY, Fuentes, NR, Hou, TY, Barhoumi, R, Li, XC, Deutz, NEP et al.. Remodelling of primary human CD4+ T cell plasma membrane order by n-3 PUFA. Br. J. Nutr. 2018;119 (2):163-175. doi: 10.1017/S0007114517003385. PubMed PMID:29249211 PubMed Central PMC5927572.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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 PubMed Central PMC5751962.
  18. 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 Mol Basis Dis. 2017;1863 (6):1392-1402. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2017.03.009. PubMed PMID:28315775 PubMed Central PMC5474136.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
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