Host-microbiome interactions

Characterization of the human gut microbiome is becoming increasingly prominent to understand inter-individual differences in health status and digestive processes. Tthe human microbiome can be thought of as a variable local environment for the host cell in the specific body site. Thus host-microbiome interactions can be studied in the general framework of GxE. Our goal is to elucidate the cause-effect of the host-microbiome relationships and how they affect complex trait variation in humans. We are using a human cellular model and functional genomics methods to characterize the host regulatory changes in response to presence of the gut microbiome (Richards et al, 2016, mSystems; Richards et al, 2018, Biorxiv). We are also assembling a panel of microbiome sub-types across host physiological and pathological states (e.g. BMI, colorectal cancer), primate species, and human populations (through the Global Microbiome Conservancy project,, that we use to treat the human cells. We aim to identify human regulatory variants contributing to inter-individual variation in the response to the microbiome. These results will help to understand the role of host-microbiome interactions on human complex traits.

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