New interdisciplinary center at MIT to focus on the microbiome and human health

Clostridium difficile (shown here) is a bacteria in the intestines that has been successfully treated through microbiome manipulation.
Courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

More than 90 percent of the genes in our bodies do not come from our own cells. Instead, the vast majority of this genetic material is found within the trillions of microorganisms that call our bodies home. Collectively known as the microbiome, these communities of bacteria and other microbes play a significant role in the functioning of the digestive tract, immune system, skin, and other body systems.

In recent years, the microbiome has attracted increasing attention for its role in health and disease. This week, MIT and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) announce the launch of the Center for Microbiome Informatics and Therapeutics, a new interdisciplinary center dedicated to advancing the understanding of the microbiome’s role in human biology and harnessing this knowledge to develop treatments for related illnesses.


Friday, November 7, 2014