Our expert answers 3 Questions
Although I have conducted research into the relationship between the gut microbiome and its role in susceptibility to and outcomes from infection, this has largely been associative. I am exploring how to move past this through use of conceptual frameworks and causal inference, with a focus on whether and how the gut microbiome mediates the association between the pathogen and clinical outcomes. We have shown this to be the case for some virulence genes present in specific strains of Klebsiella, but I now want to apply formal mediation analysis on the microbiome with respect to other pathogens/infections and their outcomes.
Despite microbiome science rising to prominence in the past decade, little has yet to result in terms of operationalizing insights to guide diagnosis, prognosis, or treatments in the clinical realm. I think bringing bioinformatics, genomics, and formal causal inference together could be tractable a path forward to make progress.
This could change our understanding of how to utilize the microbiome for precision health, individualizing our diagnostic and therapeutic measures in a way not previously possible.