Understanding the Role of Gut Microbiome in Pathogenesis of Clostridium Difficile Infection

Clostridium difficile culture

Dr. Kashyap's laboratory houses an anaerobic chamber to allow cultivation of human-gut-derived commensal and pathogenic bacteria.

Clostridium difficile is a leading cause of hospital-acquired infections. The incidence of C. difficile is steadily increasing, and it has been associated with significant mortality.

The Gut Microbiome Lab at Mayo Clinic is studying how natural variation in individual gut microbiomes relates to clinical risk factors and susceptibility to C. difficile infection. The lab's research goal is to develop specific microbial and metabolic biomarkers that can identify people who are at increased risk of infection and who would benefit from prophylactic interventions directed toward the gut microbiome.

In this project, Dr. Kashyap's research team is using a combination of clinical metadata, patient-derived samples, next-generation sequencing technology and humanized mice — ex-germ-free mice colonized with patient-derived microbiota.

The laboratory is also focused on identifying microbial and host factors that promote an environment conducive for expansion of C. difficile, and on understanding the effect of strain level differences in C. difficile on the infection's pathogenicity and response to treatment. The lab's approaches in this project will aid in development of precision microbiota-based therapies as preventive strategies targeting people who are at risk of C. difficile infection.