Surya  Tripathi

Surya Tripathi

Scholar Title

MIT BE | Microbiome Undergraduate Research and Innovation Scholar

Research Title

Understanding the Early Infant Micro-Biome Selection Forces





Research Areas
  • Biological Engineering

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.

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