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NIH ramps up Human Microbiome Project

"We are providing additional support to those studies that hold the most promise for improving our understanding of how human health and disease are influenced by the human microbiome."

Scientific review of the pilot demonstration projects was conducted to determine which studies would be expanded based on several criteria, including: the potential of each study to achieve the goals of the disease demonstration program; its clinical significance; and which had the strongest scientific merit. Generally, the expansion of each study includes the additional recruitment of study volunteers, more robust sequencing analyses of the human microbiome and stronger statistical tests applied the additional samples.

The eight expanded disease demonstration projects listed by principal investigator, body site(s), disease focus and approximate first-year funding levels are:

Gregory A. Buck, Ph.D., Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond
Vagina: Bacterial Vaginosis and Sexually Transmitted Diseases
$ 6.9 million (3 years)
This study will measure changes in the vaginal microbiome and its association with environmental factors, the presence of diseases and a woman's genetic makeup.

J. Dennis Fortenberry, M.D., Indiana UniversityPurdue University at Indianapolis Male urethra: Puberty, Sexual Activity and Sexually Transmitted Diseases
$4.2 million (3 years)
Samples will be collected from an ethnically diverse group of male adolescents to characterize the male urethral microbiome and its association with puberty, sexual activity and sexually transmitted disease.

Zhiheng Pei, M.D., Ph.D., NYU School of Medicine
Mouth and digestive tract: Esophageal Adenocarcinoma
$5.2 million (3 years)
This team will sample the oral cavity, esophagus, and stomach to study the relationship of the microbiome from these body sites with gastric esophageal reflux disease (GERD) and with esophageal cancer.

Contact: Geoff Spencer
NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute

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