In the News

Microbiome work reignites after Seres' initial flame-out
If the start of 2017 is any indication, the microbiome field—which aims to turn human gut bacteria and other body microorganisms into therapies—is thriving on various levels. Full article here

New tool can help researchers identify enzymes—and their abundance—in microbiomes
A new tool, developed by Morris Kahn Associate Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology Emily Balskus in collaboration with Curtis Huttenhower, an Associate Professor of Computational Biology and Bioinformatics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, can help researchers more accurately identify enzymes present in microbiomes and quantify their relative abundances. The study is described in a February 10 paper published in Science. Full article here

Link between microbiome in the gut, Parkinson's discovered
There is growing evidence showing a connection between Parkinson's disease -- a neurodegenerative condition -- and the composition of the microbiome of the gut. A new study from researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham shows that Parkinson's disease, and medications to treat Parkinson's, have distinct effects on the composition of the trillions of bacteria that make up the gut microbiome. Full article here

Study links changes in oral microbiome with metabolic disease
A team of scientists from The Forsyth Institute and the Dasman Diabetes Institute in Kuwait have found that metabolic diseases, which are characterized by high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and obesity—leads to changes in oral bacteria and puts people with the disease at a greater risk for poor oral health. Full article here

New research data confirms the microbiome's potential to impact plant health
Plants depend upon a complex environment that contains beneficial bacteria and fungi for healthy growth and development. Some microbes that live within the plant itself are known as 'endophytes' and are fundamental to the health of plants. Until now, data have shown that these beneficial microbes can be incorporated into plants via association with the soil, or by coating endophytes directly onto seeds. Full article here

Finch Therapeutics Announces Strategic Collaboration with OpenBiome to Develop Microbiome Therapies for FDA Approval
Finch Therapeutics, Inc., a microbiome therapeutics company, and OpenBiome, a leading public stool bank, today announced a collaboration to develop FIN-403, an orally administered microbial therapy for approval by U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in recurrent C. difficile infections. Full article here

Conference Highlight

Arrowhead 3rd Annual Translational Microbiome Conference, April 11-13, Boston
Arrowhead continues to focus on and address the challenges and hurdles that companies working in the microbiome space must recognize and navigate in order to successfully commercialize their products. With a broad focus spanning multiple disease states (oncology, dermatology, inflammatory disorders, among others) attendees will have the opportunity to hear the leading companies discuss the work they have underway and how they are meeting these challenges head on to apply recent discoveries to a variety of disease processes, restoration of health and improved outcomes. Conference website here

Microbiome Awards, Fellowships and Prizes

Massachusetts Host-Microbiome Center Microbiome Fellowship Openings
The Bry lab in the Massachusetts Host-Microbiome Center at BWH/Harvard Medical School has two microbiome fellowship openings. The fellow positions will define effects of the microbiota in immunomodulation and pathogen defense, with capacity to develop clinical/therapeutic applications from findings. Systems studied include interactions among the commensal microbiota and multi-drug resistant pathogens, C. difficile, and immunodulatory functions of commensal anaerobes in vivo. Full posting here

Promoting Greater Understanding of the Roleof the Microbiome in Human Health and Wellness