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Researchers Model Microbiome Dynamics in Effort to Understand Chronic Human Conditions

A research team led by investigators at the State University of New York's University at Buffalo outlines a microbiome modeling approach aimed at better understanding chronic disease development in a paper in PLOS Computational Biology. The investigators reason that "each static [microbiome] sample provides a snapshot of the disease process," meaning that computational methods informed by large datasets may make it possible to trace microbiome dynamics during the development and progression of chronic human conditions — an approach they applied to Crohn's disease-related gut microbiome data. "Our analysis suggested that the model recapitulated the longitudinal progression of microbial dysbiosis during the known clinical trajectory of Crohn's disease," the authors report, noting that a similar strategy "can be used to study other microbe-related chronic diseases, where the lack of longitudinal data is a ubiquitous problem."