MIT BE | Microbiome Undergraduate Research and Innovation Scholar
Effect of Oxygen Exposure on Bacterial Colonization in rCDI Patients Post-Fecal Microbiota Transplant
- Biological Engineering
Eric J. Alm
Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs), which affect 3 million Americans each year, have been shown to alter the gut microbiome. Gut-bacteria-containing fecal-matter transplants (FMT) from healthy donors to diseased recipients is a highly successful treatment for the antibiotic-resistance disease C. difficile infection (CDI), but less success has been seen in applications for other gastrointestinal diseases such as IBD.The clinical standard for processing FMT samples is under aerobic conditions; however, most gut bacteria are anaerobic, and there is evidence that aerobic processing results in more bacterial death than anaerobic processing. We seek to determine whether sample-processing conditions affect donor bacteria engraftment to inform more effective use of FMTs to treat IBD.
I got my first taste of the computational side of biology in a previous UROP project, and I’m excited to hone it further through analyzing large, complex datasets in my SuperUROP project. The field of microbiome research is fascinatingly new and filled with unexplored questions. I hope to contribute to the field with a paper as well as learn how to ask and address insightful questions in the midst of so much that is unknown.