Vanessa Leone

Assistant Professor of Animal Biologics and Metabolism




Office Location

1993 Observatory Dr.,
2118 Meat Science & Animal Biologics Discovery Building
Madison, WI 53706

Vanessa A. Leone, Ph.D. is currently an Assistant Professor of Animal Biologics and Metabolism. She obtained a B.S. in Animal Sciences in 2003 and completed her Ph.D. in Animal Sciences and Nutrition at UW-Madison under the direction of the late Mark E. Cook. Her work largely focused on examining the effects of maternal dietary supplements, specifically conjugated linoleic acid, on avian embryogenesis in laying hens. As a postdoctoral fellow and Instructor of Medicine at the University of Chicago, Leone shifted the focus of her work to examine how the trillions of microbes residing in the intestine impact complex metabolic diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Leone joined the UW Department of Animal & Dairy Sciences in 2020, bringing a wide breadth of knowledge geared towards studying host-microbe interactions using preclinical models, including germ-free mouse technology. She currently holds a National Institutes of Health Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases K01 Mentored Research Scientist Career Development Award, focusing on determining the mechanism of how diet-induced gut microbes shape and maintain host circadian clock function in the context of gut mucosal health with a specific emphasis on antimicrobial peptides. The overall goals of Leone’s research are to identify novel microbiome-derived strategies that can be used to improve the metabolic health of humans and companion animals as well as promote agricultural animal immune, health, and growth/production outcomes.

As a new member of the Meat Science and Animal Biologics Discovery Program, Leone is working with academic and industry partners to identify value-added molecules or materials derived from animal co-products, including microbes & microbially-derived metabolites, that can be used both in biomedical and animal agriculture to improve health and wellness. She has extensive experience teaching and mentoring at the undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral levels and is dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion in the fields of Animal & Dairy Sciences.

Selected Peer Reviewed Articles

Frazier K, Kambal A, Zale EA, Pierre JF, Hubert N, Miyoshi S, Miyoshi J, Ringus DL, Harris D, Yang K, Carroll K, Hermanson JB, Chlystek JS, Overmyer KA, Cham CM, Musch MW, Coon JJ, Chang EB, Leone VA. High-fat diet disrupts REG3γ and gut microbial rhythms promoting metabolic dysfunction. Cell Host Microbe. 2022 Jun 8;30(6):809-823.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.chom.2022.03.030. Epub 2022 Apr 18. PMID: 35439436; PMCID: PMC9281554

Leone VA, Onishi KG, Kennedy M, Riggle JP, Pierre JF, Maneval AC, Spedale MN, Theriault BR, Chang EB, Prendergast BJ. Atypical behavioral and thermoregulatory circadian rhythms in mice lacking a microbiome. Sci Rep. 2022 Aug 25;12(1):14491. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-18291-9. PMID: 36008471; PMCID: PMC9411200.

Miyoshi J, Miyoshi S, Delmont TO, Cham C, Lee STM, Sakatani A, Yang K, Shan Y, Kennedy M, Kiefl E, Yousef M, Crosson S, Sogin M, Antonopoulos DA, Eren AM, Leone V, Chang EB. Early-Life Microbial Restitution Reduces Colitis Risk Promoted by Antibiotic-Induced Gut Dysbiosis in Interleukin 10–/– Mice. Gastroenterology. 2021. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2021.05.054.

Miyoshi J, Lee STM, Kennedy M, Puertolas M, Frith M, Koval JC, Miyoshi S, Antonopoulos DA, Leone V, Chang EB. Metagenomic Alterations in Gut Microbiota Precede and Predict Onset of Colitis in the IL10 Gene-Deficient Murine Model. Cell Mol Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2021;11(2):491-502. doi: 10.1016/j.jcmgh.2020.08.008. Epub 2020 Aug 21. PMID: 32835897; PMCID: PMC7797374.

Frazier K, Frith M, Harris D, Leone VA. Mediators of Host-Microbe Circadian Rhythms in Immunity and Metabolism. Biology (Basel). 2020 Nov 25;9(12):417. doi: 10.3390/biology9120417. PMID: 33255707; PMCID: PMC7761326.

Frazier K, Leone VA. Microbiota Can’t Keep Time in Type 2 Diabetes. Cell Host Microbe. 2020 Aug 12;28(2):157-159. doi: 10.1016/j.chom.2020.07.015. PMID: 32791108; PMCID: PMC7518153.

K. Martinez-Guryn*, V.A. Leone*, and E.B. Chang. 2019. Regional diversity of the gastrointestinal microbiome. Cell Host Microbe. 26(3):314-324. *These authors contributed equally

X. Zhong, J. Yu, K. Frazier, X. Weng, Y. Li, C.M. Cham, K. Dolan, X. Zhu, N. Hubert, Y. Tao, F. Lin, K. Martinez-Guryn, Y. Huang, T. Wang, J. Liu, C. He, E.B. Chang*, V. Leone*. 2018. Circadian clock regulation of hepatic lipid metabolism by modulation of m6A mRNA methylation. Cell Rep. 25(7):1816-1828. *Denotes Co-corresponding lead author

J. Miyoshi, V. Leone, K. Nobutani, M.W. Musch, K. Martinez-Guryn, Y. Wang, S. Miyoshi, A.M. Bobe, A.M. Eren, E.B. Chang. 2018. Minimizing confounders and increasing data quality in murine models for studies of the gut microbiome. PeerJ. 6:e5166.

K. Martinez-Guryn, N. Hubert, K. Frazier, S. Urlass, M.W. Musch, P. Ojeda, J.F. Pierre, J. Miyoshi, T. Sontag, C. Cham, C. Reardon, V. Leone*, E.B. Chang*. 2018. Small intestine microbiota regulate host digestive and absorptive adaptive responses to dietary lipids. Cell Host Microbe. 23(4):458-469. *Denotes Co-corresponding lead author

J. Miyoshi, A.M. Bobe, S. Miyoshi, Y. Huang, N. Hubert, T.O. Delmont, A.M. Eren, V.A. Leone, E.B. Chang. 2017. Peripartum antibiotics promote persistent gut dysbiosis, loss of immune tolerance, and inflammatory bowel disease in genetically prone offspring. Cell Rep. 20(2):491-504.

K. Frazier, V. Leone. 2017. Keeping time in a relay race for fat. Cell Host Microbe. 22(4):425-427.

P. Maruvada, V. Leone, L.M. Kaplan, E.B. Chang. 2017. The human microbiome and obesity: Moving beyond associations. Cell Host Microbe. 22(5):589-599.

V.A. Poroyko, A. Carreras, A. Khalyfa, A.A. Khalyfa, V. Leone, E. Peris, I. Almendros, A. Gileles-Hillel, Z. Qiao, N. Hubert, R. Farre, E.B. Chang, D. Gozal. 2016. Chronic sleep disruption alters gut microbiota, induces systemic and adipose tissue inflammation and insulin resistance in mice. Sci. Rep. 6:35405.

V. Leone, S.M. Gibbons, K. Martinez, A.L. Hutchison, E.Y. Huang, C.M. Cham, J.F. Pierre, A.F. Heneghan, A. Nadimpalli, N. Hubert, E. Zale, Y. Wang, Y. Huang, B. Theriault, A.R. Dinner, M.W. Musch, K.A. Kudsk, B.J. Prendergast, J.A. Gilbert, and E.B. Chang. 2015. Effects of diurnal variation of gut microbes and high fat feeding on host circadian clock function and metabolism. Cell Host Microbe. 17(5):681-9.

Selected Book Chapters

J.F. Pierre & V. Leone. 2020. Chapter 37. The microbiome and Maintaining Health in Present Knowledge in Nutrition: Basic Nutrition and Metabolism, Eleventh Edition, Volume 1. Elsevier. July 17 2020.

Selected Conference Proceedings

V.A. Leone & Dirk Haller. 2022. Gut Microbiota for Health World Summit. Circadian control of microbiota functionality. Washington, D.C. March 12-13. Workshop.

V.A. Leone. 2021. Convergence of circadian rhythms and gut microbes: maintaining the metronome of life. The Institute for the Advancement of Food and Nutrition Sciences. September 7.

V.A. Leone. 2019. American Association of Liver Diseases Meeting. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease Special Interest group symposium. Gut microbiome as a prediction of efficacy of weight loss strategies. Boston, MA. November 8-12. Invited talk.

V.A. Leone. 2018. Sleep and the Health of Women. Glucose metabolism and sex differences. Diurnal dynamics of gut microbes: Identifying sex differences and implications for metabolism. Bethesda, MD. October 16-17. Invited talk.

V.A. Leone. 2018. Digestive Diseases Week. Obesity and gut microbiome: Circadian rhythms, gut microbiome, and metabolism – what’s the connection? Washington, D.C. June 2-5. Invited talk.

V.A. Leone. 2017. State of the Science: Circadian rhythm and chronomedicine for cancer and other diseases in the era of precision medicine. Circadian rhythm and microbiota. Rockville, MD. September 27-18. Invited talk.

V.A. Leone. 2017. Gordon Research Conference. Cellular and molecular mechanisms of toxicity. Tick tock goes the clock: Circadian rhythm of gut microbiota influences host metabolic and drug functions. Effects of diurnal variation of gut microbes and high-fat feeding on host circadian clock function and metabolism. Andover, NH. August 13-18. Invited talk.

V.A. Leone. 2017. Kern Lipid Conference. The gut microbiome, bile acids, and regulatory networks in health and disease: Emerging therapeutic approaches. Western Diets, Gut Dysbiosis, and Metabolic Diseases: Are They Linked? Vail, Colorado. August 7 – 9. Invited talk.

V.A. Leone. 2017. Digestive Diseases Week. Gut feelings: The microbiome-gut-brain-axis. Role of the gut microbiome and circadian rhythm in the gut-brain axis. Chicago, IL. May 6-9. Invited talk.

V.A. Leone. 2017. Experimental Biology. Determining the role of diet and dietary components in modulating gut microbiota: Macro- and micronutrient dietary composition. APS/ASN Workshop: Choosing the Right Diet for Your Animal Model. Chicago, IL. April 22-26. Invited talk.

V.A. Leone. 2016. AICR Research Conference. Dietary Modulation of the Microbiome and Cancer Risk – The microbiome and obesity. North Bethesda, MD. November 14-16. Invited talk.

V.A. Leone and Megan Bales. 2016. CBAALAS Conference. Gnotobiotics: A dual perspective – Effects of high fat diet on diurnal variation of gut microbes and host circadian clock function: Taming the logistical nightmare. Northbrook, IL. August 19. Invited talk.

V.A. Leone. 2016. Digestive Diseases Week. Circadian dysrhythmia in digestive health and disease – The impact of high fat diet-induced gut microbiota on circadian rhythm and obesity. San Diego, CA. May 21-24. Invited talk.

V.A. Leone. 2016. Experimental Biology. Mechanisms Underlying Host-Microbial Interactions in Pathophysiology of Diseases – The impact of high fat diet-induced gut microbiota on circadian rhythm and obesity. San Diego, CA. April 2-6. Invited talk.

V.A. Leone. 2015. Pint of Science. “We didn’t choose the bug life, it chose us.” Diet, microbes, and circadian rhythm – Are they making you fat?” Public outreach event. Chicago, IL. May 18. Oral presentation.

V.A. Leone. 2013. The Intestinal Microbiome and Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Wisconsin Society of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition Annual Fall Conference. Pewaukee, WI. Sept. 26. Invited talk.

Selected Videos

Selected Other Publications


Animal & Dairy Sciences External Relations Committee

Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Nutritional Sciences (IGPNS) Justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (J.E.D.I.) committee

Journal of Lipid Research Young Investigator Award – 2017. The gut microbiome, bile acids, and regulatory networks in health and disease: Emerging therapeutic approaches. Kern Lipid Conference. August 7 – 9, Vail, Colorado.

NIDDK Young Investigator Travel Grant – 2014. Host-Microbiota Interactions: How host physiology and disease pathophysiology are affected by the gut microbiota. September 9 – 10, Bethesda, Maryland.

Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America Keystone Symposia Scholarship – 2014. Understanding Chemical Biotransformations in the Human Microbiome, April 1 – April 6, Big Sky, Montana.

Poultry Science Association Certificate of Excellence – Student Research Paper. 2006. Maternal dietary conjugated linoleic acid has no adverse effects on progeny development. Poultry Science Association Annual Meeting.