Temporal changes in gut microbiome in patients with irritable bowel syndrome and the relationship to host genetics and diet

This project analyzes changes in the gut microbiome in patients who have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The goal is to determine the stability of the gut microbiome over time and the relationship between the microbiome and environmental factors — such as diet — with symptoms.

Irritable bowel syndrome is a chronic gastrointestinal disorder that affects as many as 1 in 5 people in North America, predominantly females. While it is not associated with increased mortality, it imposes a significant health burden with an increase in morbidity and annual costs reaching up to $20 billion. Patients with IBS have changes in their gut microbiome that have often been implicated in the pathogenesis; however, there is very little data to support this.

An important aim of this project is to understand the relationship between host genes, gut microbiome and IBS symptoms. This information will help develop novel prebiotics and probiotics for treatment.