WSU professor awarded prestigious Fulbright Fellowship

A Wright State professor who works in biochemistry and molecular biology has been awarded a prestigious Fulbright Fellowship.

As a Fulbright Scholar, Oleg Paliy will travel to Giza-Cairo, Egypt, in the summer of 2023 to conduct research in collaboration with his long-term colleague Laila Hussein, a professor at the National Research Center in Egypt.

The Fulbright is one of the most competitive fellowship programs for academic faculty across the world. The program, which is administered by the U.S. Department of State, was established in 1946 with the goal of improving intercultural relations between Americans and other countries through the exchange of people, knowledge and skills.

The program got its start under the legislation introduced by U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas. Since then, it has given more than 360,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists and scientists the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

Paliy’s and Hussein’s research will assess how supplementation of the diet of teenagers in Egypt with soluble plant fiber might modify their gut microbiota, according to Wright State. Paliy said that Egyptian children often suffer from GI tract illnesses such as diarrhea.

“Soluble fiber is a type of food component that is not degraded by human enzymes, and thus we do not absorb it. Instead, it goes through our stomach and small intestine and reaches the colon,” Paliy said in a release. “In the colon, there are trillions of microbes, which in contrast to us, can break down the fiber and use it as a food source. Resident ‘good’ microbes can use the fiber much better than the pathogens. So, adding such fiber to the diet can increase the numbers of beneficial microbes in Egyptian children’s guts and therefore make it harder for pathogens to infect these kids, which in turn will prevent GI tract illness.”

Paliy said that the Fulbright program will provide him with an unique opportunity.

“We hope that the results of such a project will benefit Egyptian children and will provide nutritional guidance to improve their gut health,” Paliy said in a release. “The Fulbright program facilitates the project by providing travel, accommodation and research support for the U.S. Fulbright Scholar to conduct research in Egypt.”

Paliy joined Wright State in 2004 as an assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, originally to work on a collaborative project between the Boonshoft School of Medicine and the Air Force Research Laboratory.

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