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AGA Creates Center for Gut Microbiome Research and Education

Published: Thursday, March 14, 2013
Last Updated: Monday, March 25, 2013
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Recognizing the major influence the gut microbiome is likely to have on the future of digestive disease research and patient care.

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. 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.  

 Scientific advisory board members:

Gary D. Wu, MD, chair

Professor of Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

Martin J. Blaser, MD

George and Muriel Singer Professor of Medicine, Professor of Microbiology and Director, Human Microbiome Program at the New York University Langone Medical Center, New York

Jeffrey I. Gordon, MD, AGAF 

Dr. Robert J. Glaser Distinguished University Professor and Director of the Center for Genome Sciences & Systems Biology at Washington University, St. Louis, MO

Gail Hecht, MD, MS, AGAF

Professor of Medicine, Microbiology/Immunology and Chief, Gastroenterology and Nutrition at Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, IL

Lee M. Kaplan, MD, PhD, AGAF

Director, Obesity, Metabolism & Nutrition Institute, Gastrointestinal Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston

Rob Knight, PhD

Associate Professor, University of Colorado, Boulder

Mary Ellen Sanders, PhD

Executive Director of the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics, Centennial, CO  

Ryan Balfour Sartor, MD

Distinguished Professor, Medicine, Microbiology and Immunology at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill

Richard M. Peek, Jr., MD, AGAF, ex-officio

Chairman, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville

Vincent W. Yang, MD, PhD, ex-officio

Professor and Chair of Medicine, Stony Brook University School of Medicine, NY

The AGA will fund the center’s activities and will seek funds from private, non-profit and governmental sources to help support the center. 

Danone is a founding supporter of the center.

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