How the microbiome keeps us healthy

Using metagenomics and host transcriptomics data to analyse the human signalling pathways affected by microorganisms.

Project Summary.

Led by: Korcsmáros Group

Start date: Oct 2017

End date: Oct 2021

Duration: 4 years

Grants: UKRI / BBSRC code: BB/M011216/1

The microbiome plays an important role in maintaining homeostatic functions in host systems, disrupting healthy microbiota could lead to the development of various disorders. Though differences in the microbiota between healthy and unhealthy phenotypes have been reported, the mechanistic role of the microbiota in modulating pro-homeostatic processes remains largely unexplored.

As a focused, gap-filling attempt to address this problem, the aim of the PhD project is to develop a bioinformatic pipeline to predict host-microbe interactions and analyze the effect of microbes on human signalling pathways based on -omics data using network biology approaches (in an industrial cooperation with the Unilever company). The outcome of the project will give an insight in to the effects of a healthy microbiome in the oral cavity and on the scalp for creating products for various applications.

Impact statement.

Humans are colonized by many microorganisms both externally and internally. Microbes have a pre-homeostatic function which helps to maintain homeostasis in the human body. Changes in the composition of the community due to external (temperature, hygiene, etc.) or internal factors (aging, etc.) lead to dysbiosis, which means the disruption of the microbial equilibrium between commensal and pathogen species.

As a result, this state can cause various disorders in the host, such as inflammatory diseases. It is of great interest to understand how these microbes affect the human host system on a molecular level, as it can help to identify the key bacterial regulators which are responsible for interrupted homeostasis in the body.