Department of Pharmacology, Dalhousie University
Design and implementation of a human microbiome interaction database
It is becoming increasingly apparent that the microbes living on and in our bodies, called the human microbiome, are important for human health. These microbes help with the digestion of food, defend against unwanted pathogens, stimulate and keep our immune systems in check, and synthesize essential vitamins. In addition, changes in the microbiome have been linked to various diseases and health concerns such as obesity, irritable bowel disease, diabetes, colon cancer, and various autoimmune diseases.
This relatively new research area is leading to the discovery of countless previously unknown interactions between particular microbes, their metabolic properties, and their human host. The goal of this project is to capture these novel interactions into a knowledge base that can be freely used by researchers across Canada and throughout the world. This knowledge base will incorporate results from previous publications and allow online submissions from future studies.
Combining interactions from various microbiome studies into a central comprehensive resource will allow for improved interpretation of ongoing microbiome studies, and will provide the foundation for understanding the complex nature between humans and their microbes. This is fundamental to understanding the role of the microbiome in human health, which could lead to new treatments for various diseases.