Numerous studies have shown that the microbial composition changes throughout healthy development and in various disease states. Our research focuses on the two major questions in this field relating to the dual interactions between microbiota and the host: how do the bacteria affect the host, and how does the host affect the bacteria?
Among our main interests are the interactions between the microbiome and the host endocrine system. A good example of this is in pregnancy, during which significant changes in microbiota composition, host hormonal levels, and immune responsiveness all converge to attain healthy fetal development. Another interest in our lab includes the affects of the microbiome on host social behavior.
Our methods are varied and include next generation sequencing (NGS), computational analysis, and fecal transplants. We believe that beyond a better understanding of the healthy microbiota composition and its interactions with the host, results of our studies may lead to development of therapies such as specific probiotics to ameliorate disease states.
Some of our projects include: