Milena Saqui-Salces

Assistant Professor-Gastrointestinal Physiology
495K AnSc/VetMed
1988 Fitch Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55108-6014
+1 612 624 4277


  • Post-doctorate, University of Michigan - Physiopathology of the GI Tract
  • Ph.D., Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM) - Biological Science
  • B.S., Instituto Technologico de Veracruz - Biochemical Engineering

Research Interests

It is often said that we are what we eat. Understanding how diet can affect physiology is my main research interest. To study the mechanisms by which diets modulate the function of the gastrointestinal tract, in my lab we use in vitro and in vivo models. Our in vivo models are based on feeding animals with different diets, nutritional supplements or novel feed ingredients to evaluate how this nutritional manipulations change the epithelial cell composition, the local immune response, the expression of nutrient sensing molecules, and hormone secretion of the intestine. We also use cell lines and enteroids (“mini-guts”) as in vitro models to understand the mechanisms of action of specific nutrients, and as a model to study bacterial infections of the intestine. I believe that understanding the effects that nutrients have on the function of the intestine will help us design better and healthier diets to improve human and animal lives.

Ongoing studies in my laboratory include:

  • Effect of dietary fiber on intestinal cell differentiation and digestive function
  • Effect of high fiber diets on the local intestinal immune response
  • Effects of organic and inorganic zinc sources on the intestinal epithelium
  • Effects of viscosity on nutrient digestibility, intestinal cell differentiation, mucin production, and endogenous losses of threonine of pigs
  • Use of swine enteroids as in vitro model of normal and pathological gastrointestinal physiology
  • Use of enteroids to defining the mechanisms of Lawsonia intracellularis pathogenesis


  • CFAN 3091V: Research Proposals – From Ideas to Strategic Plans (V: Honors + Writing intensive)
  • ANSC 5091: Research Proposals – From Ideas to Strategic Plans (Graduate level)
  • ANSC 5626/NUTR 5626: Nutritional Physiology
  • ANSC 4096: Internship
  • CFAN 4801H: Honors Independent Study

Honors & Awards

  • 2018 - Award for Faculty Contribution to Honors Education
  • 2017 - Team Achievement Award, Animal Systems Biology Team, Department of Animal Science, University of Minnesota
  • 2009 - Poster of distinction Digestive Diseases Week. Title: IL-1b induces specific gastric mucous cell differentiation and proliferation.
  • 2009 - Poster of distinction Digestive Diseases Week. Title: Gastric epithelial cell express primary cilia.
  • 2007 - Canifarma Award to Clinical Research (Mexico). Title: Deteccion temprana de lesiones intraepiteliales cervicales de bajo y alto grado (Early detection of low and high grade intraepithelial lesions of the cervix). Authors: Ortíz-Arce C, Montante-Montes D, Saqui-Salces M, Hinojosa L, Hernández-Gallegos E, Gamboa-Domínguez A, Pardo L, Stúhmer W, Camacho, J.
  • 2006 - PhD, graduated with Honor mention, UNAM, Mexico.
Dr. Milena Saqui-Salces