Virol and Micro:Britton Baylor College of Medicine Houston, TX US
Pathological compositions and functionalities of the small intestinal microbiota underlie HIV associated malnutrition and infections, vaccine efficacy, chronic inflammatory conditions, and hinder recovery post chemotherapy. The small intestinal microbiota changes rapidly in response to food consumption, suggesting that dietary manipulation of the small intestinal microbiota may assist patients with these conditions. Microbes altered by diet, however, differ among studies. Current approaches predominantly focus on microbial taxonomy and lack strain level resolution. Studies that do address strain specificity find considerable genomic and functional variation. I hypothesize that microbial genetic and functional variation selected by diet are the true links connecting the microbial response to diet and effect on the host. Experimental evolution coupled with microbial genetic engineering and in vitro and in vivo functional assays is a powerful work flow to address this hypothesis.