2015-10-29 19:05:09 UTC

Oct. 29, 2015

AGA supports the need for a national microbiome initiative and will play critical role by advancing the science of the gut microbiome.

Leading scientists have joined together with a very important message: we need to better understand microbiomes, and the path forward requires a unified approach. AGA supports this call for a major multi-disciplinary, public-private initiative to improve our understanding of the microbial communities critical to all ecosystems, particularly the human body.

Despite continued scientific and technological advances, we know little about the interplay between microbes, their hosts and their environments. Gastroenterology is poised to play a critical role in future research due to its unique insight into the gut microbiome. Rob Knight, PhD, member of the AGA Center for Gut Microbiome Research and Education scientific advisory board and professor of pediatrics and computer science at the University of California in San Diego, explains:

“The gut microbiome is a particularly illustrative example of microbiomes, because everyone has one and has experienced what it is like when that ecosystem is out of balance. The accessibility of the site — you don’t have to go to the rainforest to see thousands of species interacting, you just have to go to the bathroom — positions gastroenterology to make fundamental contributions, not just to human health but to ecosystem science.”

Through our center and its promotion of microbiome research and education, AGA is committed to moving this national discussion forward. Current activities of the center include:

  • AGA recently issued a call for gut microbiota samples. Through a partnership with American Gut, 500 samples collected from AGA volunteers will be analyzed and interesting trends will be reported during a special session at Digestive Disease Week® 2016.
  • AGA, in conjunction with the European Society of Neurogastroenterology and Motility, is in the midst of planning a robust research-focused agenda for the 2016 Gut Microbiota for Health World Summit. Registration is now open for this meeting, which will take place March 5 and 6, 2016, in Miami, FL.
  • AGA is planning a congressional briefing to address gut microbiome opportunities and needs, as well as the pertinent microbiome issues of antibiotic resistance and fecal transplants.
  • AGA, in collaboration with the Crohn’s Colitis Foundation of America, Infectious Disease Society of American, and the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, is working to develop a national registry on fecal microbiota transplantation.
  • AGA offers several research grants to support gut microbiome research, including the AGA-Elsevier Gut Microbiome Pilot Research Award (applications due Jan. 15, 2016).

Stay tuned: the AGA Center for Gut Microbiome Research and Education will continue to update members on the latest science and educational opportunities, as well as national strategy, related to the microbiome. 

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