Metagenomics is a relatively new field of research that focuses on how microbial communities, particularly those that live in the intestines, impact health. Using DNA sequencing, researchers can understand the impact that these microbial communities have on human health.
“There are 500 to 1,000 different species of bacteria that live in the intestine, and you can’t easily grow them,” says Dr. Amee Manges, Associate Professor, UBC School of Population and Public Health. “So one way to study them is to take a stool sample, extract all the microbial DNA in that sample and DNA sequence it to understand the composition of the community and what the microbes might be doing.”
Dr. Manges’ genomic and metagenomic research focuses on understanding how intestinal microbial communities may contribute to growth faltering in infants in resource poor settings and how these communities might also protect against intestinal infections.
She was recently awarded a grant from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) for her innovative work. These funds will be used to purchase equipment that will enable her research group to use the latest, next generation DNA sequencing technologies. These technologies will help her group to understand human-associated microbial communities, bacterial reservoirs, transmission patterns.
“This is a critical award for my research. The studies have moved almost entirely into a RNA and DNA sequencing based approaches. Now you can’t really operate in the field of molecular epidemiology without next generation sequencing.”
by Bryan Nordley