Research Project Title:
Understanding the Early Infant Micro-Biome Selection Forces
abstract:Mother’s milk has human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs), which a baby cannot digest but which are utilized by its gut bacteria. It is being established in research that a person’s microbiome highly stabilizes during the first three years of life and HMOs might have a role to play in shaping that microbiome. I will examine any personalized match between a mother’s milk and her child’s gut by utilizing HMO-utilizing bacteria from infant stool. I will then identify the genes which enable HMO-utilization based on transcriptional induction across many strains. Finally, I will try to deduce HMO composition given the microbiome of a child. This bidirectional matching will help me establish whether human milk continues to shape child microbiome for the first few years of life.
“I want to learn about the human gut microbiota and produce publishable results within the timeframe of one year. During the last 16 months at the Yilmaz lab in Koch, I have been part of two research projects and I presented my work at a UROP symposium in January 2017. I have learned to ask a question, design experiments, analyze the results, and answer the question. My long-term goal is to apply these skills to solve microbiome-induced obesity.”