Deanna Gibson


Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Biology
Other Titles: Associate Head (Research and Planning)
Office: ASC 368
Phone: 250.807.8790

Graduate student supervisor

Research Summary

Gut health; intestinal microbiome; gut immunity; dietary lipids; susceptibility to acute and chronic gut diseases like colitis.

Courses & Teaching

Medical microbiology, virology and immunology.


Dr. Gibson (Associate Professor, Biology, University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus) studies how the gut microbiome develops in response to the environmental ques like diet and how this drives immunity. While genetics plays a role in the type of microbes that one harbours, other factors are major predictors of which types of microbes and bacterial metabolites are produced in the mammalian gut. For example, early life is an important time for microbial colonization whereby antibiotic exposure alters the microbiome, which is passed on from mother to offspring. Host behaviours, such as exercise, predict microbiome diversity associated with metabolite production in the human gut; diet and the environment are also important factors.

One major focus of Dr. Gibson’s research has been the effect of dietary lipids on the gut microbiome and immunity. She has found that lipid diets alter the microbiome throughout the lifespan, and has demonstrated that certain lipids and polyunsaturated fatty acids drive colitis by enriching pathobionts (a class of potentially pathogenic symbionts of the microbiota) and pathogenic immune responses. Dietary exposure results in a dynamic host-microbe relationship with various functional pathways, depending on the type of dietary exposure. Dietary fats, such as monounsaturated fats, are protective during colitis, which may have implications for dietary recommendations for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients. Dr. Gibson is currently working on clinical studies of various diets with the goal of generating evidence to support dietary recommendations for IBD patients.

She was the recipient of an NSERC research scholar award, a UBC Killam Research Award and the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology 2018 Young Investigator Award.  She has been the recipient of grant funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates FoundationCanadian Foundation for Dietetic ResearchNSERC and Crohns and Colitis Canada.


The Gibson Laboratory
Google Scholar


Post-doctorate – Children and Women’s Hospital, Department of Paediatrics, Division of Gastroenterology
PhD University of Victoria, Department of Microbiology and Biochemistry
BSc University of Victoria, Department of Microbiology and Biochemistry

Research Interests & Projects

Intestinal microbiome: neonate colonization, maternal and postnatal nutritional and other environmental effects on dysbiosis, relationship with the host innate immune system, effects on IBD, enteric disease susceptibility and Type 1 Diabetes.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): to find a cure; targeting healing processes, tissue repair for long term remission.

Intestinal pathogens: innate host responses to acute colitis, interaction and dynamics with intestinal microbiota.

Mucosal intestinal immunity: gastroenteritis, acute colitis, mucosal integrity, intestinal barrier function, intestinal homeostasis, intestinal stem cell proliferation, Toll-like receptor signaling, intestinal cytoprotective responses, intestinal wound healing.

Pharmaceutical immunology: probiotic pharmaceuticals, synthetic and natural anti-microbial and immune modulatory drugs.

Selected Publications & Presentations

Google Scholar
The Gibson Laboratory


The Gibson Laboratory News
Media Releases


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