In a healthy adult, microbial cells are estimated to outnumber human cells 10 to one. Many microbes maintain our health, while others cause illness. Recent investigations of the human gut microbiome have discovered important ways in which gut microbes may influence a number of important disease states including obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, functional gastrointestinal disorders, cancers and liver disease. Recognizing the major influence the gut microbiome is likely to have on the future of digestive disease research and patient care, the AGA Governing Board is pleased to announce the creation of the AGA Center for Gut Microbiome Research and Education.
“The gut microbiome is among the most exciting and promising areas of research today. As gastroenterologists, we are in an excellent position to perform gut microbiome research and translate basic discoveries into new methods to maintain and improve the health of our patients,” said Loren Laine , MD, AGAF, president of the AGA Institute. “The gut microbiome offers a myriad of possibilities to GI basic and translational researchers, clinicians and patients.”
The AGA Center for Microbiome Research and Education will be a virtual “home” for the AGA’s activities related to the gut microbiome. The mission of the center is “To advance research and education on the gut microbiome in human health and disease.”
To provide guidance on gut microbiome-related issues, the AGA has convened a scientific advisory board comprised of world leaders in computational biology and metagenomics, microbiome animal models, microbiology translational research, nutrition, and pertinent regulatory and policy issues. These advisors will make strategic and programmatic recommendations to the AGA Governing Board.
“This is an incredibly exciting time in science, where technological advances in DNA sequencing, transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics provide an unprecedented opportunity to explore not only the composition, but also the function of the microbial communities that live in our intestinal tract. It is hoped that the knowledge gained will provide new insights into disease pathogenesis and innovative therapeutic modalities. The membership of the AGA is ideally suited to translate these findings from the bench to the bedside,” says Gary Wu , MD, chair of the scientific advisory board.