Mouse study highlights role of NOD2 gene in gut microbiota resilience following antibiotics

New investigations using a gene knockout mouse model showed that neonatal exposure to antibiotics had a long-lasting effect on both the microbial community and mucosal immunity in the gut. The data also shone light on how the Nod2 gene alters the risk of inflammatory disease.

The neonatal period is a known critical window during which microbiota colonizes the gut and influences the development of the mucosal immune system. During this period, the developmental processes of the gut microbiome and immune system are particularly sensitive to environmental disturbances, which can increase the susceptibility of an individual to certain diseases.

One well-documented environmental exposure is antibiotics. Both mouse and human studies have produced data that suggest neonatal exposure to antibiotics is associated with increased risks for inflammatory diseases like asthma or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)— including Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis. Observational data also support the notion that early and repeated exposure to antibiotics significantly increases the risk of IBD.

However, in most immune related or inflammatory diseases, there is likely to be an interplay of environmental and genetic risk factors that lead to someone developing an inflammatory condition. One of the most important genetic risk factors for the development of Crohn’s disease, for example, is mutations in the Nod2 gene. This gene encodes for a protein that has an important role in immune function and is found immune system cells like monocytes, macrophages, and dendritic cells. Nod2 is therefore an interesting candidate for studies aimed a better understanding the role of host genetics in altering the varied and potentially long-lasting effects of antibiotic exposure and risks of inflammatory diseases.

The existence of a mouse breed without the Nod2 gene provided a team of researchers with the ideal model to investigate how Nod2 deficiency influenced the impact of antibiotic exposure on the mouse’s gut microbiota and susceptibility to colitis. The team, based at the University of Toronto and Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, included Dr.Kenneth Croitoru (a Microbiome Insights scientific advisory board member). Together with collaborators, Croitoru performed several experiments whereby wild type mice, those with unaltered Nod2 genes, and Nod2 knockouts (mice without any copies of the gene) were exposed to antibiotics.

In a set of experiments, the team gave both adult mice and neonates a treatment of antibiotics, and 5 weeks later experimentally induced colitis. They collected fecal samples from the mice in order to characterize the changes to the gut microbiota using 16S rRNA sequencing. The results showed that in adult mice the microbiota in both the wild type and knockout mice was changed by antibiotics, but the recovery time was delayed in the knockouts compared to the wild type.

A similar result was observed in the newborns. After antibiotic treatment, which was completed at the time of weaning, the gut microbiota of both groups of mice was “significantly changed.” And, similar to adults, the knockout mice maintained reduced microbial diversity in the gut 14 days after the antibiotic treatment was stopped. In terms of the development of colitis, treatment did not affect the susceptibility of adults to colitis, but the neonatal knockout mice developed a more severe colitis. Interestingly, the researchers could transfer this severe colitis phenotype to other germ-free Nod2 knockout mice through the gut microbiota. They also found that this severe colitis phenotype was associated with changes in the intestinal T cells as well as the suite of cytokines found in the gut following inflammation, which taken together, indicates that Nod2  “has a critical role in shaping gut microbial responses and resilience to perturbations” and that the time of exposure is important.

It was known from previous work that while antibiotics do transiently change the gut microbiota of humans, the microbiota is usually fairly resilient and reverts back to its normal pre-treatment composition. According to the investigators, the fact that the Nod2 knockouts showed a delay in the time it took to revert back demonstrates reduced resilience of the gut microbiota, and this is the first study to show a role for Nod2 in microbial resilience following antibiotic exposure. The study also highlights the “long-lasting influence of an altered neonatal microbiota on mucosal immune homeostasis and development of disease.”

Reference

Goethel A, Turpin W, Rouquier S, et al. Nod2 influences microbial resilience and susceptibility to colitis following antibiotic exposure. Mucosal Immunol. 2019; 12: 720-732.

 

New work shows gut microbial taxa might vary, but function is stable in people with Crohn’s disease in remission

The numbers, types, and functions of gut microbes and the molecules they produce vary greatly over time and between individuals; however, there is new evidence showing that the metabolic function these microbes perform is conserved in some cases. This new data comes from an analysis of the gut microbiome from several individuals with Crohn’s disease throughout a whole year. The study further showed that the conserved functions are redundant across multiple phyla in the gut microbiome and that gut microbiome metabolism is driven by a web of interconnected reactions and enzymes.

Research has revealed that the gut microbiome plays a fundamental role in our overall health. The microbiome is involved in several vital biological functions including, metabolism, digestion, and immunity. Scientists have shown that there is an enormous amount of variability in the species making up the gut microbiome of any one individual, and this variability is even greater in people with inflammatory bowel disease (e.g. Crohn’s disease).  This makes any investigation into why a microbiome is not functioning properly extremely difficult. To get around this, researchers posed the question of whether microbial composition was really the best way to seek answers.

The group carrying out this work included researchers from all over the US and included Microbiome Insights Scientific Advisory Board member Dr. Janet Jansson ofthe Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington. Their approach was to focus on discrete “metabolic modules” within a gut microbiome instead of taxa or genetic relationships, the idea being that different bacteria can perform similar metabolic functions; so while two humans have a different make-up of species, their microbiomes on the whole could be functioning similarly. With this concept, the researchers wanted to tackle an open question in microbiome and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) research—how does the observed volatility in the microbiome composition of patients with IBD influence the functions of the microbiome?

Fecal samples from individuals with Crohn’s following resection surgery and in remission were collected at 5 time points throughout a year and a dual metagenomics/metaproteomics approach applied: they used shotgun metagenomics sequencing to identify genes from the microbiome species and two-dimensional liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry to isolate the proteins. They found that the metaproteomes (the collections of proteins expressed by microbes in the samples) were highly personalized, meaning all the samples taken from an individual more closely resembled each other than they did any sample from another individual. There was, however, still a great deal of variability between the samples taken at different times from a single person. Next they identified “metabolic modules” of proteins known to be involved in certain pathways and functions. In doing so they observed that there were similar and redundant metabolic functions across the different phyla observed over time and between individuals. By further combing through the modules, a clear path from carbohydrate, lipid, and amino acid degradation to central metabolism and finally the production of fermentation products could be found.  According to the researchers, the modules show the interconnectedness of gut microbiome metabolism, meaning that the overall operation of the microbiome should be thought of as network focused on metabolic function.  

This study was not specifically designed to compare healthy vs. unhealthy individuals, says the research team, but because this population is known to have a wide range of taxonomic variability they were chosen to investigate how variation affects function. According to researchers, “the data revealed that microbiomes of these post-surgery individuals had significant variability in taxa, genes, and proteins; however, key metabolic modules associated with central metabolism were seen in all samples, even though the phyla of origin was often different.” Furthermore, they believe this approach provides a unique way to follow metabolic reactions and enzymes, even when the species and proteins involved vary. 

Blakeley-Ruiz JA, Erickson AR, Cantarel BL, et al. Metaproteomics reveals persistent and phylum-redundant metabolic functional stability in adult human gut microbiomes of Crohn’s remission patients despite temporal variations in microbial taxa, genomes, and proteomes. Microbiome. 2019; 7:18.

 

 

Microbiome Insights scientific advisory board member Curtis Huttenhower contributes to research identifying thousands of new human microbiome species

Thousands of new microbial species making up the human microbiome have been identified from metagenome samples collected around the world. By reconstructing the microbial genomes found in over 9000 metagenome datasets, the microbial genomes of the unnamed species extend the knowledge of the human microbiome and should aid in development of future metagenomics technologies.

The work of identifying these new species was carried out by a team of researchers from Europe, New Zealand and the US, and included Harvard’s Dr. Curtis Huttenhower (a Microbiome Insights scientific advisory board member). The group used a scalable bioinformatics methodology to reconstruct the genomes of unknown bacteria found within the metagenome assemblies. Here the metagenome samples were site-specific human body samples (oral cavity, skin, vagina, and stool) from multiple people living all over the world. The diverse set included individuals of all ages, living varied lifestyles from 32 countries.

A wealth of information is contained in these samples, as they represent the whole-body microbiome of humans from different geographic locations that experience different climates and circumstances. Seven of the datasets also came from non-Westernized environments, further expanding the range of conditions the microbes are sampled from. Using these metagenomes as the starting point the researchers were able to apply their large-scale single-sample metagenomics assembly and identified 4930 species-level clades, 77% of which had no previous whole-genome level information.

Their method of assembly was optimized to maximize the quality of the microbial genomes being found in the metagenome sample, rather than the quantity. Despite this strict method, 154 723 new microbial genomes were identified, which more than doubles the current publicly available set of roughly 150 000 microbial genomes. With this investigation having doubled the catalogue of known microbial genomes, future studies attempting identify the contents of a metagenomics sample now have a more comprehensive reference set from which they can map out their samples. The metagenomics assembly strategies used in this work can also be applied to non-human associated metagenomes and will be applicable for new sequencing technologies such as synthetic or single molecule long read sequencing.

A large fraction of the previously unidentified species were seen in the non-Westernized samples; however, examples of the new species were prevalent throughout all samples. Roughly 2.5 million genes were also found within the known species-level clades, many of which were associated with conditions including infant development and Westernization. Several taxa of bacteria were found to be prevalent in this analysis despite not being observed in previous well-profiled populations. Still more taxa from underrepresented phyla, such as Saccharibacteria and Elusimicrobia, were found in oral and gut microbiomes.

According to the study authors, “the resulting genome set can thus serve as the basis for future strain-specific comparative genomics to associate variants in the human microbiome with environmental exposures and health outcomes across the globe.”

Pasolli E, Asnicar F, Manara S, et al. Extensive unexplored human microbiome diversity revealed by over 150,000 genomes from metagenomes spanning age, geography, and lifestyle. Cell. 2019; 176: 649-662.

 

 

 

Novel combination of techniques improves identification of soil bacteria involved in wood decomposition: The latest from Mohn lab

In a bid to overcome the limitations of what scientists found previously from culture-dependent studies, new research shows stable isotope probing, coupled with next-generation sequencing techniques, can be used to identify which organisms living in the complex microbial soil community are involved in the decomposition of lignin, cellulose, and hemicellulose–three major polymers that make up wood.

Researchers from the lab of Bill Mohn (Microbiome Insights co-founder) at University of British Colombia labelled the lignin, cellulose, and hemicellulose of wood samples with a carbon isotope and allowed the process of decomposition to proceed in experimental microcosms. Subsequent amplicon and shotgun sequencing of the microbial communities in the microcosms: first, identified the organisms present without the use of cultures; and second, by measuring the total assimilation of the carbon isotope into the DNA of the sequenced amplicons, identified which species were involved in decomposition. This method greatly improves the understanding of the species and genes involved in this essential process — an insight not possible with standard culturing methods.

Forest soil decomposition of wood is a major global carbon sink, making it important for the study of climate change. To date, researchers knew microbes must be involved in helping fungi, the main drivers of wood decomposition, in the task of recycling this material but were limited in the ability to identify those involved.  This was mostly due to the fact that many bacteria cannot be grown on cultures in the lab. This new approach not only removes this barrier but also, due to the ability of metagenomics to work with pooled samples, provides a glimpse of the entire community in the sample —providing a more natural representation of the forest communities.

The researchers found that bacteria, specifically Gram-negative types from the families Comamonadaceae and Caulobacteraceae, were more involved in lignin degradation, with fungi taking on a prominent cellulose degrading role. Interestingly too, most species incorporated a carbon label from a single lignocellulosic polymer, strongly suggesting specialization among the microbes involved.  Furthermore, they found that variations in the community compositions across different soil types and soil layers constrained the degrading activity. According to the researchers involved: “the relationship between these communities and process rates should receive continuing study to refine our understanding of soil carbon stabilization and terrestrial carbon cycling models.” Additionally, the newly discovered sets of  gene clusters involved in the degradation process provide “a trove of potentially novel enzymes for biotechnological applications.”

This study was recently covered in Chemistry World.

 

Stanford group draws wide expertise from Microbiome Insights & others to complete Chan Zuckerberg Biohub’s Tabula Muris project

A detailed database of transcriptomic data from over 100,000 individual cells taken from the mouse model organism Mus musculus, titled Tabula Muris, is now available for use by biomedical researchers around the world. This work, completed by the The Tabula Muris Consortium, was a project funded by the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub.

This database is the first concise and detailed collection of mouse single cell transcriptomic data from this important model organism. It reveals the individual gene expression levels of the cells from 20 different organs and tissues and is a first draft for an organism-wide representation of cellular diversity. This now-publicly-available resource will aid in the discovery of new cell types and of novel gene expression patterns, while also serving as a reference for healthy organs and tissues, making it an important baseline for future disease models. The team also made all of the data, scripts, and protocols publicly available along with an interactive data browser. The aim is to allow future groups to carry out further in depth-analysis and exact replications of their work.

In order to complete such an ambitious project, the consortium assembled expertise from several groups. Consortium members included researchers from Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, multiple faculty at Stanford University, and experts from the Palo Alto Healthcare System. Each group specialised in a tissue type (e.g. kidneys or lungs), or had specific experience (e.g. pathology or flow cytometry). A breadth of knowledge was required because the over 100,000 individual cells needed to be individually isolated. For mammalian cells, two methods were used: fluorescence-activated cell sorting and the microfluidic droplet technique. From here, DNA and RNA were extracted and sequenced. In tandem, fecal samples were collected for functional analysis of the microbiota. It was at this stage that Microbiome Insights provided their expertise by performing a customized suite of DNA extraction and library preparation services to contribute to the overall results.

“Working closely with Microbiome Insights to quickly analyze the data was critical to our ability to integrate microbiota information with the rest of the Cell Atlas project,” said KC Huang, a Stanford professor involved in the project. The sheer number of cell types and subsequent genomic information to be processed required an enormous feat of coordination—making this a remarkable example of research collaboration.

The strength of this single cell and organ approach is that it will allow researchers working with a single organ, for example, to see the changes that occur throughout the entire body. It provides a whole-body view of disease and development. This could aid in studies on prevention and potentially even cures for many important diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. The Chan Zuckerberg group is now supporting a similar project, The Human Cell Atlas, which according to their website, is aimed at building “a collection of maps that will describe and define the cellular basis of health and disease”.

New publication from Mohn Lab shows diversity and significance of steroid-degrading bacteria is largely underestimated

Steroids in the environment accumulate from both natural and anthropogenic sources. Cholesterol, for example, is an essential part of cellular membranes and a natural source of steroids in the environment. Anthropogenic sources include steroid hormones associated with birth control pills. Regardless of where they originate, however, steroids have been found to accumulate in soil, wastewater treatment plants, and aquatic environments, where even at low concentrations they have negative impacts on animals—including humans. So far, only a few types of bacteria are known to degrade steroids in the environment and these species will play a big role in regulating steroidal pollution and its impacts.

To better understand the distribution and ecological significance of these steroid degraders, researchers from the Canadian universities of British Columbia and Waterloo, along with collaborators from Georgetown University in Washington, set out to apply a metagenomics approach to studying these bacteria. This approach uses DNA sequencing to find genes from the 9, 10-seco pathway responsible for steroid degradation in environmental samples and not the bacteria itself. The team then builds phylogenies to find the bacteria according to the phyla in which these genes occur.

The results of this paper supported earlier work showing that bacteria using the 9, 10-seco pathway belong to the Actinobacteria and Proteobacteria phyla. Members of both phyla coexist in wastewater, while species of Actinobacteria alone are found in soil and rhizospheres. While the complete set of genes used in this pathway were not assigned to any other phylum, evidence for steroid degradation ability was found for the first time in the alphaproteobacterial lineages Hyphomonadaceae, Rhizobiales, and Rhodobacteraceae, as well as the gammaproteobacterial lineages Spongiibacteraceae and Halieaceae. Actniobacterial degraders were found in the deep ocean samples while alpha- and gammaproteobacterial degraders were found in other marine samples, including sponges. Furthermore, the authors confirmed that the steroid-degrading bacteria from sponges, Spongiibacteraceae and Halieaceae, catabolize steroids.

The metagenomics approach is a useful one because many bacterial species cannot be cultured and identified directly. However, the techniques involved in DNA extraction and sequencing have inherent biases that cannot be avoided. It is therefore important to note that the absence of steroid degradation proteins from a sample does not definitely mean that the bacteria are not present. Despite this potential underestimation, this study is, according to researchers, “the first analysis of aerobic steroid degradation in diverse natural, engineered, and host-associated environments via bioinformatic analysis of an extensive metagenome data set.” Not only does this confirm the usefulness of the technique; it also demonstrates that the ecological significance and taxonomic and biochemical diversity of these bacteria have been largely underestimated.

Holert J, Cardenas E, Bergstrand LH, et al. Metagenomes reveal global distribution of bacterial steroid catabolism in natural, engineered, and host environments. MBio. 2018; 9: e02345-17.

Publication from Mohn Lab assesses genetic potential of the forest soil microbiome post-harvesting

Harvesting trees from forests, even when replanting efforts are made, has a huge impact on the long-term functioning of the soil microbiome. The unique microbial community in the soil performs essential tasks like decomposing plant material, which recycles nutrients for new plants to use. Plus, these microbes play vital roles in nutrient cycling such as the carbon and nitrogen cycles. To better understand the effects that removing organic matter (harvesting) has on the capacity of the soil microbiome to perform these duties, researchers from the University of British Colombia and the Georgia Institute of Technology assessed the genetic potential of soil communities for biomass decomposition and nitrogen cycling in harvested sites across North America, each representing a unique ecozone.

Using study sites and designs from the Long Term Soil Productivity Study, established during the 1980s, the researchers used shotgun metagenomic sequencing to quantify the diversity and abundance of genes essential to the microbial community’s decomposition and nutrient cycling functions. Harvesting and replanting occurred roughly ten years prior, with three different levels of organic material being taken at each site: stem-only harvesting, whole-tree harvesting, and whole-tree harvesting plus forest floor removal.

Harvesting overall played a role in altering the soil gene profiles, but the level of organic matter harvested did not. Researchers observed a reduced relative abundance of carbohydrate active enzymes genes—which are important for decomposition—and an increase in the abundance of nitrogen cycling genes. However, the increase in nitrogen cycling genes did vary by ecozone, suggesting ecozone-specific nutrient availability plays a role in the sensitivity of the carbon and nitrogen cycles to harvesting.

This was the first large-scale metagenomics study looking at the effects of harvesting on the potential for soil communities to perform some of their natural functions. The team believes that these changes could have an affect on forest productivity as trees grow and their nutrient demand increases, and may also alter a forest’s ability to resist future perturbations. According to the researchers, “our results suggest a mechanism by which harvesting can exacerbate nitrogen losses at sites predisposed to such losses, potentially lowering plant productivity and increasing greenhouse gas emissions.”

Cardenas E, Orellana LH, Konstantinidis KT, Mohn W. Effects of timber harvesting on the genetic potential for carbon and nitrogen cycling in five North American forest ecozones. Sci Rep. 2018; 8: 3142.

PRESS RELEASE: Rebiotix and Microbiome Insights collaborate on a microbiome IBD tool for clinical development

Recent study provides proof of concept for using novel scoring system to define IBD-related changes in microbiome

With a growing body of science linking gut microbiota to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a need exists in clinical settings to understand changes in the gut microbial community as they relate to IBD and its management.
Two leading microbiome companies, Rebiotix (part of the Ferring Pharmaceuticals Group) and Microbiome Insights, are collaborating to validate one such tool: a proprietary analysis to determine how closely a patient’s microbiome resembles that of someone with IBD. Microbiome Insights’ bioinformaticians developed an IBD Microbiome Score, based on a vast dataset of over 1600 individuals with IBD and healthy controls. The metric combines the latest understandings of the gut microbiome as a complex ecosystem with information on hundreds of taxa in the bacterial community, rather than the presence or absence of specific taxa. Based on fecal microbial characterization by sequencing, the IBD Microbiome Score can be assigned for each individual patient at diagnosis and at different times throughout treatment, making the Score practical for clinical use. Leveraging Rebiotix’s proprietary Microbiota Restoration Therapy™ (MRT) drug development platform, the Score is being evaluated in active clinical trials to treat IBD.

“The microbiome field is enormously complex,” says Dr. Ken Blount, Rebiotix’s Chief Scientific Officer. “With the use of the first-in-class Rebiotix MRT platform continuing to expand into complex conditions such as IBD, it is critical to have strong, scientifically-validated tools to understand the dynamics of the microbiomes changes within our patients. We’ve seen first-hand how the novel platform and expertise of Microbiome Insights has the potential to rapidly advance not only our understanding of the impact of MRT on patients, but also to uncover valuable microbiome findings for the entire industry.”

“Our scientific team has consulted with leading gastroenterologists to explore ways of leveraging the science on the microbiome and IBD in the clinical setting,” says Microbiome Insights CEO Malcolm Kendall. “Now we have developed the first scientifically robust tool for tracking the microbiome of people with IBD and understanding its link to clinical outcomes. The ability to work with Rebiotix on this path to discovery underscores the future utility of our platform in the clinical setting.”

The companies are continuing to explore applications of Rebiotix interventions and Microbiome Insights’ personal health platform in other microbiome-related diseases.

About Rebiotix
Rebiotix Inc., part of the Ferring Pharmaceuticals Group, is a late-stage clinical microbiome company focused on harnessing the power of the human microbiome to revolutionize the treatment of debilitating diseases using drug products built on its pioneering Microbiota Restoration Therapy™ (MRT) platform. The MRT platform is a standardized, stabilized drug technology that is designed to rehabilitate the human microbiome by delivering a broad consortium of live microbes into a patient’s intestinal tract via a ready-to-use and easy-to-administer format. For more information on Rebiotix and its pipeline of human microbiome-directed therapies, visit www.rebiotix.com.

About Microbiome Insights
Microbiome Insights, Inc. is a global leader providing end-to-end services for microbiome DNA sequencing, including state-of-the-art bioinformatic analysis. Based in Vancouver, Canada, the company’s customized suite of services enables researchers and clinicians to easily and effectively include microbiome analysis in studies across a range of human, animal, agricultural and environmental applications. The multidisciplinary team of researchers and knowledge leaders at the company provide access to decades of expertise in traditional sciences such as ecology, microbiology, infectious diseases, and genetics. Microbiome Insights’ award-winning team is committed to providing clients with fast, dependable, cost-effective results.

See the original Business Wire press release here.

Study led by Afribiota investigators shows stunted growth in children is associated with gastrointestinal ‘de-compartmentalization’

Stunting, the impaired growth and development of children, affects an estimated 155 million children per year. This represents roughly 25% of the world’s children and there exists a substantial lack of knowledge regarding the underlying causes and potential treatments. Current thinking on stunting hypothesizes that contributing factors such as inadequate psychosocial stimulation, poor nutrition, and recurrent infection are to blame. New research, however, is indicating that the microbial community of the small intestine, an organ essential for digestion and nutrient absorption, may be another contributing factor.

New data, published in PNAS by Afribiota investigators, including Microbiome Insights co-founder Dr. Brett Finlay, found that children suffering from stunting are affected by bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine and possess a microbial community made up from mainly oropharyngeal bacteria. Researchers studied duodenal and gastric samples of children with stunting, aged 2-5 years, in comparison with healthy children living in sub-Saharan Africa. Using 16S Illumina amplicon sequencing and semi-quantitative culturing methods they characterized the microbial communities of these children and found the small intestinal bacterial overgrowth in children with stunting.

The small intestines of children with stunting harboured bacterial species normally found in the oropharyngeal cavity. This overgrowth was also represented in fecal samples from the stunted children—which suggested a path toward developing non-invasive biomarkers for this condition. Furthermore, in stunted children Escherichia coli, Shigella species and Campylobacter species were more prevalent and Clostridia, well-known butyrate producers, were reduced.

These results indicate stunted children are experiencing a de-compartmentalization of the gastrointestinal tract, possibly a result of poor oral hygiene, recurrent or chronic rhino-pharyngeal infections, a hypo-chloric environment in the stomach (which weakens the natural barrier of stomach acidity), or other changes to the stomach environment which reduce its ability to kill unwanted bacteria. Importantly, these changes were seen in two geographically and nutritionally distinct populations, providing strong evidence that bacterial overgrowth is a conserved feature of the stunting condition itself.

The exact role of the oropharyngeal bacteria in intestinal inflammation, while yet to be determined, may provide vital information toward understanding the pathophysiology of stunting and potential new treatments.

Vonaesch P, Morien E, Andrianonimiadana L, et al. Stunted childhood growth is associated with decompartmentalization of the gastrointestinal tract and overgrowth of oropharyngeal taxa. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018; 155: E8489-E8498.

PRESS RELEASE: Microbiome Insights receives funding from the Government of Canada to develop new microbiome testing platform for managing chronic disease

Vancouver, British Columbia (September 12, 2018)—Microbiome Insights, Inc. is pleased to announce that it will receive a contribution of up to $190,249 from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) to help support the development of a new personal health platform of microbiome testing.

Co-founded by Drs. Brett Finlay and Bill Mohn at University of British Columbia in 2015, Microbiome Insights is a rapidly growing company and a global leader in microbiome testing and bioinformatic analysis. The advisory services and financial assistance from the Government of Canada, through NRC IRAP, will help the company expand in a new direction—continuing to develop tools for use in clinical settings as new data emerge on the gut microbiome and health.

“We’re leveraging our expertise in microbiome testing to develop a suite of tools for monitoring chronic disease in clinical practice,” says Microbiome Insights CEO Malcolm Kendall. “From the practitioner interface to the educational components of the test, our team is taking a fresh approach that is going to change the game for microbiome testing.”

The primary aim of the company’s personal health platform is to help address the challenges both healthcare practitioners and individuals face in the management of chronic disease.  Microbiome monitoring in those with chronic disease may provide a tool for assessing response to therapies or to various lifestyle changes (including diet), particularly when integrated with robust research findings and ongoing data collection.

The company’s new testing platform will be aimed at health practitioners helping individuals who live with inflammatory bowel disease. The efforts are led by Nataša Jovic, MBA, who brings to the company twenty years of experience in therapeutic and diagnostic commercialization. The company is currently exploring opportunities to commercialize its platform of microbiome tests for healthcare practitioners through research collaborations and distribution or joint commercialization efforts.

See the original BusinessWire press release here.