August 17, 2016

Best Practices in Microbiome Research Speeds Process from Discovery to Patient Care

By Sharon Rosen

bacteria760Researchers at Mayo Clinic’s Center for Individualized Medicine Microbiome Program are collaborating with University of Minnesota on developing best practices to study the microbiome, the community of bacteria in our bodies. That’s important, because the microbiome can give us a window into the role of bacteria in sickness and health. For example, better research practices could increase knowledge of gastrointestinal illness and some cancers, helping patients who suffer from conditions such as gluten sensitivity, irritable bowel syndrome and colon cancer.

Dr. Heidi Nelson

Dr. Heidi Nelson

“Often discovery work is conducted without early efforts towards standardizing research methods. Without standardized practices, it is difficult to compare research results and draw reliable conclusions about how to improve patient care. As we learn how changes in bacteria can cause disease and how we might alter the course of a disease by changing the microbiome, we need consistent findings so we can develop reliable therapies. Steps have been taken at Mayo Clinic to standardize our research methods, and this will help us generate reliable results that can lead to better treatments.” says
Heidi Nelson, M.D., director of the Center for Individualized Medicine Microbiome Program and chair, Department of Surgery.

The project entitled, “Minnesota Microbiome Data Engine” is funded by a grant from the Minnesota Partnership for Biomedical Genomics, a unique collaboration between Mayo Clinic, University of Minnesota and the State of Minnesota, designed to improve public health and build the state’s biomedical industry.

Purna Kashyap MSS_0001462124 (1)

Dr. Purna Kashyap

“Mayo Clinic researchers used funding from the Minnesota Partnership Grant to expand the capabilities of the Mayo Clinic Gnotobiotic facility, housing germ-free mice which are vital for the advancement of microbiome research. Researchers added equipment and personnel to support microbiome investigators at both Mayo Clinic and University of Minnesota,” says
Purna Kashyap, M.B.B.S., of the Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, and associate director of the Center for Individualized Medicine Microbiome Program.

Funding from the grant also supported a recent University of Minnesota study published online in Nature Biotechnology. In the study, investigators developed standardized methods for preparing samples for genomic sequencing, improving sequencing results and allowing for comparison of sequencing data across multiple studies. These research standards will speed the analysis of results from multiple studies and enable investigators to translates scientific discoveries into diagnostic tools and treatments for patients more quickly.

“Our collaboration with University of Minnesota has enabled us to share technologies and expertise to support our respective research efforts, build collaborative relationships between investigators at both institutions and advance the science of microbiome research,” says Dr. Nelson.

This collaboration is just one example of Mayo Clinic researchers’ efforts to ensure the quality of their microbiome research.

Join us to learn more about the microbiome and other aspects of precision medicine

Learn more about ongoing research efforts in the Center for Individualized Medicine’s Microbiome Program, including a list of current research projects and stories about how this research has helped patients.

Hear experts discuss the latest research in precision medicine and how it can be applied to improve treatments for many conditions at Individualizing Medicine 2016: Advancing Care Through Genomics. The Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine, is hosting the fifth annual genomics conference, October 5–6, in Rochester, Minn.

The Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine is hosting the conference with support from the Satter Foundation.

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Tags: #Genomics data, #Microbiome research, #Minnesota Partnership for Biomedical Genomics, #Minnsota Microbiome Data Engine, #Research methods, center for individualized medicine, Dr. Heidi Nelson, Dr. Purna Kashyap, genomics, mayo clinic, medical research, microbiome, Uncategorized

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