Texas A&M University Institute of Advanced Studies

Anna Salvador

Anna Salvador

As a student in the Threadgill Laboratory, I will use mouse models of human health and disease to investigate how inter-individual differences impact response to diet. The Hagler Institute for Advanced Study granted me the opportunity to work with Faculty Fellow Dr. Richard Gibbs, founding director of the Baylor College of Medicine Human Genome Center. This HEEP fellowship has allowed me to collaborate with his colleagues in the development of four mouse models of gene variants identified by the center. Two independent projects have emerged from my experience as a fellow. The first project is related to regulation of individual diet response while the second, investigates behavioral, developmental and molecular concepts.

Early on in the fellowship Dr. Gibbs connected me with Dr. Aniko Sabo to evaluate the role of a gene variant associated with susceptibility to obesity in a human study of lower socioeconomic Hispanic youth. We are using CRISPR/Cas9 technology to engineer the same single amino acid change identified from the study in a mouse model. The mouse strain selected has previously shown to be resistant to the development of metabolic phenotypes associated with obesity.

The knowledge I gained by developing the diet study provided me with the opportunity to join a second project with Dr. Yunyun Jiang. The focus of this project moves away from diet and centers on the behavioral and developmental phenotypes observed in children that present with a de novo (non-inherited) gene variant. We will develop three mouse models in order to evaluate whether the condition presents itself by a mechanism of haploinsufficiency or dominant negative protein interactions. This will inform future investigation of the condition.

The Hagler Institute for Advanced Study engaged me with Dr. Gibbs in the infancy of my academic career and this has been one of the cornerstones to the development of my position in the laboratory. I anticipate that each of these projects will grow and develop into broader areas of study and I look forward to what the future holds for my work with Dr. Gibbs and the Human Genome Center. The relationships that have been fostered by my participation in this HEEP fellowship will continue to guide my research efforts in the time to come and I am perpetually grateful for the experience that I have had with this program. 


Nutrition and Food Science

Graduation Year

May '21

Degree Type


Fellowship Year(s)

'16- '17

Previous Education

B.S. in Nutrition and Food Science, McNeese State University 2016


David Threadgill