Max Van Belkum
Max is originally from Oahu, Hawaii and was raised in Destin, Florida. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Florida where he earned a B.S. in Microbiology and Cell Science and a B.S. in Nutritional Science, two degrees he believed would equip him to study the intestinal microbiome. He then spent two years as a molecular biology research scientist at a startup biotechnology company in Gainesville, FL before committing to the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine's Medical Scientist Training (MD/PhD) Program in Nashville, TN.
Max has longstanding interests in the intersection of intestinal function, microbiota, mucosal immunology, metabolism, nutrition, microbiology, and human disease. He is interested especially in the potential role of microbiota in metabolic syndrome and in the etiology of the increasing incidence of colorectal cancer in individuals below 50 years of age. He plans to become an academic gastroenterologist physician-scientist with clinical duties and a laboratory to one day bridge the exploding basic science findings in the microbiome field with the relative dearth of clinical treatments currently derived from them.
In his free time, Max plays ping-pong and tennis, goes to trivia, spends time with friends and explores Nashville.