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Molecular Virology & Microbiology - Alkek Center for Metagenomics and Microbiome Research

Houston, Texas

A BCM research lab.
Department of Molecular Virology and Microbiology
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Alkek Center for Metagenomics and Microbiome Research

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The Alkek Center for Metagenomics and Microbiome Research is coordinating and leading research and development efforts in this area across the Texas Medical Center, and with collaborators from around the United States and abroad.

The human microbiome is defined as the microbes (bacteria, single-cell eukaryotes, and viruses) that colonize the body, while metagenomics refers to culture independent, genomic analyses of the DNA and RNA recovered from these microbial communities. We are particularly interested in identifying the organisms that impact human health and disease, and how these microbes interact with the host and each other in the diverse environments found in the human body.

CMMR researchers are developing molecular and informatic tools and resources to advance numerous clinical and basic research projects pertaining to the organisms that comprise the microbiome, the genetic makeup of these bacteria, viruses and eukaryotes, and how these commensal microorganisms interact with human cells and tissues during the course of life. The intent is for these projects to lead to the development of new treatments and diagnostics for a variety of heritable and infectious diseases as well as the development of additional reagents having other biotech applications.

Joseph F. Petrosino, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Molecular Virology and Microbiology is the director of the Alkek Center for Metagenomics and Microbiome Research, which is supported in part by a generous donation from the Albert and Margaret Alkek Foundation.