The Michigan Microbiome Project

The Michigan Microbiome Project (MMP) was recently initiated by faculty members of multiple departments in the Medical School at the University of Michigan. It’s mission is to elucidate principles underlying the structure, functions and dynamics of the human microbiome. The goal is to manage microbiomes for the benefit of human health. These objectives will be met by both observational and interventional studies in several human cohorts.

Measuring body fat

One part of the MMP is introducing microbiome analysis into the ongoing Weight Management Program in the Department of Internal Medicine: Metabolism, Endocrinology & Diabetes.

In this project, we will look for correlations between the composition of the gut microbial community, metabolites generated by these microbes, and phenotypic characteristics of the hosts that are already being measured. We will also study the effects of dietary supplements that stimulate certain microbes on weight management and other health outcomes.

Another component of the MMP has an educational as well as a research function.  It is part of a project sponsored by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to determine if early exposure to research influences the success of a university science education. The MMP engages freshman Biology students to investigate how the structure and functions of the gut microbiome in healthy young adults respond to dietary supplements. As well as being researchers, the students have the option of participating as members of the study group.
 

Research class

The MMP is being supported by the University of Michigan’s Host-Microbiome Initiative, Proctor & Gamble and DNA-Genotek. It is expected that MMP will join other studies at the University of Michigan that could be directly or indirectly impacted by a microbial community.

If you would like to learn more about the Michigan Microbiome Project or think that microbiome studies could benefit your research, please contact Dr. Thomas Schmidt (schmidti@umich.edu).