The gut microbiome is an integral component of the human body – almost like an organ. Dozens of inflammatory conditions (e.g. inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, and rheumatoid arthritis) have been associated with the microbiome, in addition to several cancers and cognitive disorders. We mine large databases, like the Wellness 100K Project, to identify promising associations (directed and undirected) between microbial communities and human health. These associations serve as hypotheses for in vivo, ex vivo, and in silico testing. We use these data, along with existing knowledge bases, to build mechanistic models that map ecological structure to community phenotypes. Our goal is to establish causality for a subset of microbe-host associations and to build tools for designing ecosystem interventions, which will allow for the translation of these insights into novel treatments for complex diseases. Ultimately, we want to develop ‘ecological therapeutics’ to treat complex conditions that emerge from many interacting factors and often require a personalized intervention (i.e. there will never be a single ‘pill’ that can be deployed to treat the disease). The microbiome is quickly becoming a new branch of medical science. Just as we all have our own unique genomes, we also have unique microbiomes. Understanding the composition and function of our unique gut communities will be crucial in the development of personalized, preventative, and predictive medicine.
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- Duvallet, C., Gibbons, S.M., Gurry, T., Irizarry, R. and Alm, E.J. 2017. Meta-analysis of microbiome studies reveals disease-specific and shared responses. Nature Communications, 1784 (2017), doi:10.1038/s41467-017-01973-8
- BioRxiv Preprint http://biorxiv.org/content/early/2017/05/08/134031
- Califf, K.J., Schwarzberg-Lipson, K., Garg, N., Gibbons, S.M., Caporaso, J.G., Slots, J., Cohen, C., Dorrestein, P.C., and Kelley, S.T. 2017. Multi-omics analysis of periodontal pocket microbial communities pre-and post-treatment. mSystems, 2(3), pp.e00017-17
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- Leone, V., Gibbons, S.M., Martinez, K., Hutchison, A.L., Huang, E.Y., Cham, C.M., Pierre, J.F., Heneghan, A.F., Nadimpalli, A., Hubert, N. and Zale, E. 2015. Effects of diurnal variation of gut microbes and high-fat feeding on host circadian clock function and metabolism. Cell Host & Microbe, 17(5), pp.681-689
- Fuller, M., Priyadarshini, M., Gibbons, S.M., Angueira, A.R., Brodsky, M., Hayes, M.G., Kovatcheva-Datchary, P., Bäckhed, F., Gilbert, J.A., Lowe, W.L. and Layden, B.T. 2015. The short-chain fatty acid receptor, FFA2, contributes to gestational glucose homeostasis. American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism, 309(10), pp.E840-E851
- Torres, P.J., Fletcher, E.M., Gibbons, S.M., Bouvet, M., Doran, K.S. and Kelley, S.T. 2015. Characterization of the salivary microbiome in patients with pancreatic cancer. PeerJ, 3, p.e1373.
- Vitaglione, P., Mennella, I., Ferracane, R., Rivellese, A.A., Giacco, R., Ercolini, D., Gibbons, S.M., La Storia, A., Gilbert, J.A., Jonnalagadda, S. and Thielecke, F. 2015. Whole-grain wheat consumption reduces inflammation in a randomized controlled trial on overweight and obese subjects with unhealthy dietary and lifestyle behaviors: role of polyphenols bound to cereal dietary fiber. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 101(2), pp.251-26
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