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NYU Langone Medical Center receives NIH Director's Transformative Research Projects award
Date:9/30/2010

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced today that Martin J. Blaser, MD, the Frederick H. King Professor of Internal Medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center has been awarded one of only twenty NIH Director's Transformative Research Projects (T-R01) award for research entitled "Disappearing Gastrointestinal Microbiota in Epidemic Obesity. The project will examine whether changes in the human microbiome as a result of antibiotic use early in life has fueled the epidemic of obesity. The amount of the award is approximately $6.6 million over a five year period.

"We are deeply committed to the mandate of translational research and will use the opportunity to try to prevent and treat obesity which has become a global epidemic," says Vivian S. Lee, MD, PhD, MBA, senior vice president, vice dean for science and chief scientific officer at NYU Langone Medical Center. "We are excited that collaborations between multiple departments at the medical center may result in research that could be transformative and far-reaching."

Currently, over 1/3 of U.S. adults are obese and one of six children are overweight. In fact, rates of obesity have increased so rapidly over the past three decades that scientists believe that there must be an environmental cause. Dr. Blaser and colleagues hypothesize that antibiotic use early in life has resulted in the disappearance, or extinction, of key microbiota in the human gastrointestinal tract.

Antibiotic use in children may have resulted in the gradual disappearance of Helicobacter pylori, the ancient stomach bacteria that interact with hormones, to maintain energy homeostasis. Dr. Blaser has also observed that use of low dose antibiotics in farm animals to promote growth may also have had a parallel result in human children repeatedly exposed to high-dose antibiotic doses at a very young age. He hypothesizes that antibiotic use could be disrupting metabolic relationships that control early life
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Contact: Dorie Klissas
dorie.klissas@nyumc.org
212-404-3555
NYU Langone Medical Center / New York University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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