Mark Failla

Headshot of Mark Failla

Faculty Emeritus, Department of Human Sciences

Program Area: Human Nutrition

(614) 688-1444

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  • B.S. Chemistry, St. Francis College, Brooklyn, NY, 1970
  • M.S. Microbiology, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, 1975
  • Ph.D. Microbiology, Indiana University,1976
  • Post-doctoral Nutritional Biochemistry, Rutgers University, 1976-1978

Research Interests

Research Summary

It has been estimated that the human diet contains more than 20,000 unique compounds, although only 42 of these are classified as essential for life. Laboratory, clinical and epidemiological studies consistently have suggested that many non-essential components of the diet are capable of modulating health and wellness.  Moreover, many tissues, as well as the resident bacteria colonizing the gut convert numerous dietary compounds to metabolites that affect the proliferation, differentiation and functions of various cells. Identification of the bioactive compounds present in foods and the elucidation of their absorption, metabolism and molecular mechanisms of action continue to attract much interest in the biomedical community. Insights are facilitating interactions among nutrition and food scientists, geneticists, plant and animal scientists, and physician/veterinary researchers that are aimed at the development of new foods that promote health and can be used as adjuvants for the treatment of diseases. This truly is an exciting time to be a nutrition scientist!  

Our research team is interested in problems related to the digestion, metabolism, absorption and functions of health promoting compounds in plant foods. Recent projects have included investigations focused on carotenoids, soy isoflavonoids, anthocyanins and xanthones.  We are particularly interested the following: a) the impact of plant genotype and traditional styles of cooking on pro-vitamin A bioavailability from biofortified cultivars of staple foods (e.g., cassava, maize, rice and sweet potato) that are the primary source of energy and nutrients for rural populations in developing countries; b) the influence of amount and type of dietary fat on the uptake of carotenoids and other fat soluble health-promoting compounds in foods and meals; and, c) the anti-inflammatory activities of various dietary compounds in the gastrointestinal tract and the influence of such compounds and their metabolites on interactions between gut bacteria and gut epithelial cells.

We use in vitro approaches to simulate digestion and human intestinal cells to study the absorption, metabolism, and trans-epithelial transport (“absorption”) of bioactive compounds by human intestinal cells.  We translate results from these studies into pre-clinical studies using animal models, and collaborate with expert colleagues for human studies.


  • The Ohio State University (2000-present): Human Nutrition Program Leader and Interim Chair, Department of Human Sciences, 2012-2013; Associate Dean for Research, College of Education and Human Ecology, 2008-2012; Associate Director, OSU Food Innovation Center, 2010-2012; Associate Director, Center for Advanced Functional Foods Research and Entrepreneurship, 2006-2012; Professor, Department of Human Nutrition, 2000-present (Chair, 2000-2008); Director, Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program in Nutrition (OSUN), 2000-2008; Professor, Department of Food Science & Technology, 2008-present; Faculty Affiliate, Comprehensive Cancer Center – Molecular Carcinogenesis and Chemoprevention Division, 2003-present.
  • University of North Carolina – Greensboro (1991-2000):  Professor, Departments of Nutrition and Biology (Chair, Department of Nutrition, 1995-1999)
  • USDA ARS Human Nutrition Research Center (1985-1991): Research Microbiologist
  • Virginia Tech (1979-1986): Associate (1983-1986) / Assistant (1979-1983) Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Nutrition


  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2012
  • American Society of Nutrition Dannon Institute Award for Mentorship, 2007
  • Krauss Director’s Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Research Mentorship, Ohio Agr. Research and Development, 2005
  • Department of Human Nutrition’s 2005 Faculty of  the Year Award, College of Human Ecology, 2005
  • Lucille Hurley Distinguished Professor Award, Dept. of Nutrition,University of California at Davis, 2001
  • Outstanding Advisor Award, School of Human Environmental Sciences, UNCG, 1997; UNCG Research Excellence Award, 1995.

Selected Grants

  • USDA NIFA.  Training competitive nutrition scientists from underrepresented backgrounds in 21st  Century skills to stem the tide of childhood obesity. Failla(PD), Belury, Goodway, Gunther, McDowell, Melgar-Quinonez, Sellers.   $126,000.  January 2011-January 2016.
  • Harvest Plus/IFPRI.   Strengthening Capacity at the HarvestPlus-Brasil Program--BioFORT Program of  Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuaria (EMBRAPA):  Use of the in vitro coupled digestion and Caco-2 intestinal cell model for assessing the effects of plant genotype and cooking styles of cassava, sweet potato and pumpkin on retention and bioaccessibility of pro-vitamin A carotenoids. Failla (PI), $87,507.  April,2013-April,2014.
  • USDA NIFA.  Enhanced stability and targeted delivery of microencapsulated anthocyanins for improved food quality and human health.  Kaletunc, Failla (co-PD), Giusti, Hansford.  $499,993.  October 2011-September, 2014.
  • Ohio State University Office of Academic Affairs.  Food Innovation Center.  Lee, Failla, Schwartz, Clinton, Leiblein.  $3,750,000.  January 2010-December 2014.
  • Pending:USDA NIFA.  Impact of food digestion and processing on anti-inflammatory activity of dietary polyphenols in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.  Ferruzzi, M.G., Bomser, J. Failla. M.L(co-PD). $499,000. April, 2014-December, 2015

Selected Publications

  1. Failla ML, *Gutierrez-Orozco F, Chitchumroonchokchai C, Diekmann F.  Mangosteen Xanthones: Bioavailability, Metabolism, Bioactivities and Toxicity. In: Handbook of Functional Beverages and Human Health. Shahidi F and Alasalvor C (eds.), Taylor & Francis.  pp 373-384.
  2. Failla ML, Chitchumroonchokchai C.  (2016)  In vitro approaches for investigating the bioaccessibility and bioavailability of dietary nutrients and bioactive metabolites.  In: Functional Foods and Beverages: In vitro Assessment of Nutritional, Sensory and Safety Properties.  N Bordenave and MG Ferruzzi, eds. Wiley Blackwell, Sussex, England. In press.
  3. Failla ML, Gutierrez-Orozco F.  (2016)  Mangosteen Xanthones: Bioavailability and Bioactivities.   Fruit and Vegetable Phytochemicals, ed. E.M. Yahia, 2nd edition, John Wiley & Sons, In, West Sussex, England.  In press.
  4. Mah E, Sapper TN, Chitchumroonchokchai C, Failla ML, Schill KE, Clinton SK, Bobe G, Traber, MG, Bruno RS (2015)  α-Tocopherol bioavailability is lower in adults with metabolic syndrome regardless of dairy fat co-ingestion: A randomized, double-blind, crossover trial. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 102: 1070-1080.
  5. Ribeiro EMG, Chitchumroonchokchai C, Carvalho LMJ, Moura FF, Carvalho JLV, Failla, ML. (2015)   Effect of style of home cooking on retention and bioaccessibility of pro-vitamin A carotenoids in biofortified pumpkin (Cucurbita moschata Duch.) Food Res Intern. 77: 620-626.
  6. Victoria-Campos, C.T., C.T., Ornelas-Paz, J.J., Ramos-Aguilar, O.P., Failla, M.L., Chitchumroonchokchai, C., Ibarra-Junquera, V., Perez-Martinez, J.D. (2015)  The effect of ripening, heat processing and frozen storage on the in vitro bioaccessibility of capsaicin and dihydrocapsaicin from Jalapeno peppers in absence and presence of two dietary fats.  Food Chem. 181: 325-332.
  7. Berni, P., Chitchumroonchokchai, C.,  Canniatti-Brazaca. S.G., De Moura F.F., Failla, M.L. (2015) Comparison of content and in vitro bioaccessibility of provitamin A carotenoids in home cooked and commercially processed orange fleshed sweet potato (Ipomea batatas Lam). Plant Foods for Human Nutrition. 70: 1-8. 
  8. Gutierrez-Orozco, F., Thomas-Ahner, J., Galley, JD, Bailey, MT, Clinton, SK, Lesinski, GB,  Failla, M.L. (2015)  Induction of intestinal dysbiosis and colonic epithelial cell hyperproliferation by dietary α-mangostin is independent of mouse strain.  Nutrients 7: 764-784.  
  9. Failla, M.L., Chitchumroonchokchai, C., Aoki, F. (2014)   Increased bioavailability of ubiquinol compared to ubiquinone is due to more efficient micellarization during digestion and greater GSH-dependent uptake and basolateral secretion by Caco-2 cells.  J. Agr. Food Chem. 62: 7174-7182.  
  10. Berni,P., Chitchumroonchokchai, C., Canniatti-Brazaca,S.G., De Moura, F.F., Failla, M.L. (2014) Impact of genotype and cooking style on the content, retention, and bioacessibility of β-carotene in biofortified cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) conventionally bred in Brazil. J. Agr. Food Chem. 62, 6677-6786.
  11. Gutierrez-Orozco, F., Thomas-Ahner, J., Berman-Booty, J., Galley, J., Chitchumroonchokchai, C., Mace, T., Bailey, M., Clinton, S., Lesinski, G., Failla, M.L. (2014) Dietary α-mangostin, a xanthone from mangosteen fruit, exacerbates experimental colitis and promotes dysbiosis in mice.  Mol. Nutr. Food Res. 58: 1226-1238.     
  12. Kamonpatana, K., Failla, M.L., Giusti, M.M., Kumar, P.S. (2014) Anthocyanin structure determines    susceptibility to microbial degradation and bioavailability to the buccal mucosa.  J. Agr. Food  Chem.  62: 6903–6910.
  13. Shen, Q., Chitchumroonchokchai, C., Thomas, J.L., Gushchina, L.V., DiSilvestro, D., Failla, M.L.,  Ziouzenkova, O.  (2014) Adipocyte reporter assays: Application for identification of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of mangostin xanthones.  Mol. Nut. Food Res.  58: 239-247.    
  14. Gutierrez-Orozco, F., Failla, M.L.  Biological activities and bioavailability of mangosteen xanthones: A critical review of the current evidence. (2013) Nutrients 5, 3163-3183.
  15. Serventi, L., Chitchumroonchokchai, C., Riedl, K.M., Kerem, K., Berhow, M.A., Vodovotz, Y., Schwartz, S.J., Failla, M.L.   Saponins from soya and chickpea: Stability during bread making and in vitro bioaccessibility.  (2013)  J. Agr. Food Chem.  61: 6703-6710.  
  16. Liu,M-J., Bao, S., Bolin, E.R., Burris, D.L.,Xu,X., Sun,Q., Killilea,D.W.,*Shen,Q.,  Ziouzenkova,O.,       Belury,M.A.,  Failla, M.L., Knoell, D.L. (2013)  Zinc deficiency augments leptin production and exacerbates macrophage infiltration into adipose tissue in mice fed a high-fat diet.  J. Nutr.143:1036-1045.
  17. Victoria-Capos, C.I., Ornelas-Paz, J.J., Yahia, E.M., Failla, M.L. (2013) Effect of interaction of heat-processing style and fat type on the micellarization of individual lipid-soluble pigments from pungent peppers (Capsicum annuum). J. Agr. Food Chem. 61:3642-3653.
  18. Gutierrez-Orozco, F., Chitchumroonchokchai, C., Lesinski G.B., Suksamrarn,S., Failla, M.L. (2013) α-Mangostin: Anti-inflammatory activity and metabolism by human cells.  J. Agr. Food Chem. 61: 3891-3899.  
  19. Goltz, S.R., Sapper, T.N., Failla, M.L., Campbell, W.W., Ferruzzi, M.G.  (2013) Carotenoid bioavailability from raw vegetables and a moderate amount of oil in human subjects is greatest when the majority of daily vegetables are consumed at one meal. Nutr. Res. 33: 358-366.
  20. Frazier, E.A., Gracious, B., Arnold, L.E., Failla, M.L., Chitchumroonchokchai, C., Habash, D.,   Fristad, M.L. (2013) Nutritional and safety outcomes from an open-label micronutrient intervention for pediatric bipolar spectrum disorders.  J,. Child Adolescent Psychopharm. 23: 558-567.
  21. Chitchumroonchokchai, C., Thomas-Ahner. J., Li, J., Riedl, K.M., Suksumrarn, S., Clinton, S.K., Kinghorn, A.D., Failla, M.L. (2013) Anti-tumorigenicity of dietary α-mangostin in a HT-29 colon cell xenograft model and the biodistribution of xanthone metabolites.  Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, 57: 203-211.  
  22. Simmons, A.L., Chitchumroonchokchai, C. Vodovotz, Y., Failla., M.L.  (2012)  Isoflavone retention during processing, bioaccessibility, and transport by Caco-2 Cells: Effects of source and amount of fat in a soy soft pretzel.  J. Agr. Food Chem. 60: 12196-12203.
  23. Komanpatana, K., Giusti, M.M., Chitchumronchokchai, C., MorenoCruz, M., Riedl, K.M., Kumar, P., Failla, M.L.  (2012) Susceptibility of anthocyanins to ex vivo degradation in human saliva. Food Chem.  135: 738-747. 
  24. Goltz, S.R., Campbell, W.R., Chitchumroonchokchai, C., Failla, M.L., Ferruzzi, M.G. (2012) Meal triacylglycerol profile modulates carotenoid post-prandial absorption in humans.  Mol. Nutr. Food Res., 56: 868-877.  
  25. Failla, M.L., Chitchumroonchokchai, C., Siritunga, D., De Moura, F.F., Fregene,M., Sayre, R. (2012)  Retention during processing and bioaccessibility of β-carotene in transgenic cassava root.  J. Agr. Food Chem. 60: 3861-3866.  
  26. Chitchumroonchokchai, C., Riedl, K.M., Suksumrarn, S., Clinton, S.K., Kinghorn, D.A., Failla, M.L. (2012) Bioavailability of xanthones from mangosteen juice in healthy adults. J. Nutrition, 142,675-680.
  27. Li, L.,Yang, Y.,  Xu, Y.,  Owsiany, K.,  Welsch, R., Chitchumroonchokchai, C.. Lu, S., Van Eck, J., Deng, X.,   Failla, M., Thannhauser, T.W. (2012) The Or gene enhances carotenoid accumulation and stability during post-harvest storage of potato tubers.  Molecular Plant 5: 339-352.