Eugene B. Chang, MDPrincipal Investigator
The focus of my group is on the study of the intestinal microbes and how they interact with the host. This relationship is fundamental to our health and, when perturbed, the consequences can be catastrophic. In this regard, the emergence of “new age” disorders like diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, cancer and autoimmune disorders over the past century may be related to large shifts in the composite human microbiome caused by changes in the environment and life styles. In genetically susceptible individuals, these factors can potentially trigger events that disturb immune and metabolic homeostasis, initiating the development of disease. Our efforts are therefore directed towards gaining a better understanding of what factors are involved in the selection and assembly of intestinal microbes, and how they can be used to reshape the enteric microbiome to prevent and treat disease. We employ cutting edge approaches that include cultivation-dependent and –independent technologies for microbial analysis, genetically modified and gnotobiotic mouse models, metabolic and functional measurements, and advanced bioinformatic tools to investigate both the host and the microbiome.