Microbes as Therapeutics
We are interested in the interactions between microbes and hosts, how those interactions impact health, and how they can be targeted to treat disease. There are as many, or more, microbial cells in our bodies than human cells. These microbes produce a range of bioactive molecules that our cells encounter and respond to continually. Delineating the mechanisms through which these products act on host cells will open the window to intelligent design of a range of therapeutic options: 1) Probiotics to increase populations of bacteria that produce proven therapeutic agents, 2) Prebiotics to “feed” existing microbiome members specific substrates that are converted into therapeutic metabolites or that promote growth of beneficial bacterial species, 3) Phages as biotherapeutics to specifically remove bacteria that produce disease promoting products, 4) Bioengineered microbes that produce recombinant therapeutic agents, and 5) Traditional pharmacological molecules that activate or inhibit host pathways targeted by beneficial or problematic microbial products.
UAB centers facilitating this work