Meta-analysis and Characterization of Microbial Community Functional Structure in Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Primary Researchers:

Curtis Huttenhower

Principal Investigator: Curtis Huttenhower, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health

Project Summary

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, affects over 1.6 million Americans. It is a devastating and highly personalized condition that can be difficult to manage, since not all patients respond well to available medications, and the severity of the disease can differ dramatically among individuals and over time. This project aims to better understand this heterogeneity by identifying components of the gut microbiome that also vary consistently among patients, over time, and between different patient populations. These components might include individual microbes carried in some patients guts, combinations of microbes that together disrupt a healthy microbiome, or molecular processes carried out by different microbes. We also expect to identify microbial biochemistry that explains these differences among patients, with the potential to develop new diagnostic biomarkers or, eventually, therapeutic targets based on these pathways.