Delawrence J. Sykes, PhD.

University of Michigan
NIH-IRACDA Research Fellow
Molecular and Integrative Physiology
Shah Lab

Current Research

Delawrence is a second-year IRACDA fellow. His work converges at the intersections of gastrointestinal homeostasis, inflammation, and cancer. Our bodies must respond to the metabolic demands of a low oxygen (hypoxic) environment. Chronic hypoxia and inflammation are attributed to the development of cancer phenotypes. Delawrence, in association with the Shah lab, investigates the molecular mechanisms by which hypoxia mediates gastrointestinal homeostasis and inflammation which will help improve existing approaches to cancer therapy.


Delawrence’s current projects investigate the role of Itaconate (a metabolite of the TCA cycle) in regulating cellular metabolism and its dual role as an anti-inflammatory signaling molecule. A separate project explores the impact of enrichment on anxiety-like behavior in mice and the impact of enrichment on gut microbiota. Understanding how enrichment impacts the brain and behavior directs continued investigation of the gut-brain-microbiome axis and tumor suppression in mice and humans.