McNair Scholar 2018 Salma Noor

Salma Noor is a rising senior at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, majoring in nutrition with a minor in public health. Her research interests are learning more about the oral and gut microbiome, and its relationship to oral and cardiometabolic diseases. Salma’s goal is to get an MPH in epidemiology before going to dental school to become a dentist.

Salma Noor headshot
My dream is to become both a dentist and an epidemiologist that will strive to provide healthcare access to underserved populations within the Twin Cities area.

Research project

The Role of Prebiotics and Probiotics in the Oral Microbiota

Abstract: It is well known that prebiotics and probiotics alter the human gut microbiota, which is linked to positive health outcomes. The aim of this systematic review was to evaluate whether probiotics and prebiotics have significant changes in the oral microbiota. This research examines and analyzes journal articles that discuss prebiotics and probiotics and their effects in the oral microbiota. PubMed and Academic Search Premier databases were used to search articles based on numerous criteria. 18 articles were found, and four studies of the 18 were used to analyze the results. Of the four studies, two found a significant reduction in streptococci mutans when a type of probiotic was taken. The other two studies, however, didn’t show a significant effect or a shift in the oral microbiota composition. Overall, more studies need to be done on the effect of probiotics and prebiotics in the oral microbiota, especially since it’s currently suspected that changes in the oral microbiota may decrease risk for chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease and cancer, and oral diseases such as dental caries and gingivitis.

Faculty mentor

Dr. Joanne Slavin is a professor in the Department of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Minnesota. She received a BS, MS, and Ph.D at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and has become a leading expert in dietary fiber. Dr. Slavin received several awards and is the author of more than 300 scientific articles. In terms of research interests, she is interested in dietary fiber and dietary guidance. This is Dr. Slavin’s third year of being a faculty mentor for the McNair program.