Metagenomic Studies of Human Gut Microbiota/Microbiome in Gnotobiotic Mouse Models of Malnutrition
- Center for Metabolism and Immunity
2/1/2010 - 1/31/2012
Diet and nutritional status are among the most important, modifiable determinants of the health of children. The nutritional value of food is not absolute and fixed, but rather is influenced in part by the collection of microbes present in our intestines. Dr. Smith’s proposed studies utilize methods based on a revolutionary new field of microbiology, known as metagenomics, plus mice colonized with microbes from the human digestive tract, to determine how these microbes influence the ability to extract nutrients and energy from food. The studies seek to determine whether disruption in intestinal microbial communities contribute to the development of severe malnutrition in children living in different cultural settings. Ultimately, this research may help develop new ways to assess the nutritional status of children and to treat and prevent malnutrition.