- Dr. Alderete's research has contributed to our understanding of how air pollutants contribute to obesity and type 2 diabetes. Her work includes some of the first investigations to show that exposure to near-roadway and ambient air pollution contributes to obesity and the pathophysiology of type 2 diabetes in youth. While the mechanisms underlying these associations remain uncertain, Dr. Alderete's recent work has shown that exposure to near-roadway air pollution was associated with the relative abundance of specific gut bacteria that were also correlated with fasting glucose levels, including Bacteroidaceae and Coriobacteriaceae. Results from this study provide the first evidence that exposure to air pollutants may impact human health via alterations in the gut microbiota. Collectively, Dr. Alderete's current research aims to test the hypothesis that the microbiome plays an intimate role at the interface between human health and the environment.