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Research and Development

The Human Microbiome Research Institute (HMRI) leverages established and emerging clinical areas where the microbiome may have the greatest diagnostic or therapeutic benefits.

The gastrointestinal tract harbors the highest density of microbes that influence disease and health. We seek to determine if gut microbes can help us predict disease or assist in prevention. Research areas include inflammatory bowel disease and complications, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease/nonalcoholic steatohepatitis and liver fibrosis.

The alarming rise in autoimmune conditions ranging from food allergies to lupus leads scientists to examine what in our environment may trigger hyperactive immune responses. Our microbiome is exquisitely sensitive, leading to the production of chemicals that can act throughout the body to either stimulate or prevent abnormal immune responses.

The numerous environmental exposures a baby experiences in the first years of life will determine the microbes that will initially colonize their bodies. These early-life microbiomes serve to educate the developing immune system. A better understanding of this balance may provide clues to diseases and provide opportunities to tune optimal health.

Compelling studies suggest the tumor-associated microbiome may drive development of tumors and responsiveness to medications. Cedars-Sinai investigators are actively pursuing studies on the tumor-associated bacteria and fungi, and aspects of the microbiome that may stratify patient responsiveness to chemoradiation therapy.

Obesity and diabetes continue to rise worldwide, with many subtypes of diabetes emerging globally. The greatest density of microbes resides where food is digested in the body, suggesting that a deeper understanding of how food changes the intestinal environment and how microbes alter metabolism could unlock new insights into the way we eat.

Research Projects

The HMRI leads two flagship research projects with Cedars-Sinai as well as external investigators that present broad application across multiple diseases.

The first project focuses on the impact of diet on the gut microbiome and how it affects health as well as diseases. Our research scientists are investigating changes in diet that alter the microbiome to reveal novel opportunities for prevention and treatment of diseases.

The second project focuses on the application of precision gene editing of the gut microbiome. By using gene-editing technology to modify bacterial DNA, we hope to expand our knowledge of key bacterial functions that drive or prevent disease processes using state-of-the-art in vitro and in vivo models for preclinical testing of altered microbiota.

Have Questions or Need Help?

Contact us if you have questions or wish to learn more about the programs and services at the Cedars-Sinai Human Microbiome Research Institute.