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MSU Wins $7.3M Gut Microbiome Grant

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Michigan State University scientists have won a $7.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study microbes that live in the gut, as part of NIH's Enterics Research Investigational Network, MSU said Thursday.

Researchers at MSU will use the five-year grant to study the enteric microbiome, and the role that those microbes have in illnesses that come from food and water.

"Our long-term goal is to develop new interventions and treatments for food and water-borne diseases; we want to know what makes people more susceptible or more resistant to enteric diseases," Linda Mansfield, a microbiologist at MSU's College of Veterinary Medicine, said in a statement.

Mansfield's team is studying illnesses caused by Salmonella, C. difficile, E. coli, and Campylabocater.

"Evidence suggests the enteric microbiome profoundly affects our health and disease susceptibility and may be a new preventive and therapeutic target," she added.

Along with its veterinary school, the research will involve MSU's colleges of Human Medicine, Natural Science and Engineering, and the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station.

The research will focus on three areas: microbial ecology and pathogenesis, host response, and clinical research.

The microbial ecology research will entail using a bioreactor model and mice to study communities of microbes and whether lowered microbial diversity in the gut, which can be caused by antibiotics, can allow pathogens to take hold.

The clinical research component will study fecal samples taken by the Michigan Department of Community Health to determine how infection with different pathogens can change the types of microbes that are present in the intestine, and how that affects disease.

The host-response studies will seek to find a link between enteric disease caused by Campylobacter jejuni, a food-borne bacterium found in poultry, and autoimmune diseases that have recently been associated with Campylobacter infection.

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