Define the roles of the microbiome in health and disease with the goal of developing microbiome-based diagnostics and therapeutics.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a complex autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system (CNS). There is no known cause or cure. Evidence is emerging that the gut microbiome is essential in the pathogenesis of the disease by shaping host immunity and communicating with CNS via the gut-brain axis. By using a multiple disciplinary approach that includes bioinformatics, experimental microbiology and immunology, I am working on the following three areas: (1) assess the gut microbiome as the marker for disease diagnosis and progression in patients; (2) identify microbes, genes and metabolites that protect from autoimmunity in mouse models and patients (3) determine how the gut microbiome affects the treatment efficiency of MS drug in mouse models.
I am also working on the second phase of Human Microbiome Project to characterize the global changes of nasal and gut microbiome, transcriptome, host metabolome and proteome in individuals at risk for Type II diabetes.