Isolating and Characterizing Bioactive Molecules From the Human Gut Microbiota

Presenter: Annie Ikemoto

Research Category: Physical and LIfe Sciences
College: College of Engineering
Major(s): Bioengineering
Graduation Date: 2022

Bacteria that reside in the human gut play a crucial role in regulating the bodyÕs metabolism and developing the immune system. Imbalances in the gut microbiome have been linked to several diseases of the digestive tract (such as IBD and IBS) establishing a need to further study how gut microbes behave and interact with one another. However, the molecules and mechanism for how these gut microbes contribute to disease pathology have remained elusive. Ruminococcus gnavus (R.gnavus) is an example of a gut microbe that has been shown to be associated with CrohnÕs Disease. There are also implications in how commensal and pathogenic R. gnavus strains actively compete in the gut. Therefore, this project will study how these strains interact with one another and identify the active substances that are excreted. This project will consist of growing hit-producing gut microbes anaerobically, extracting and purifying the active substance(s), and structurally characterizing the active substance(s) via relevant analytical methods. These active substances will then be assessed on their relevance to disease and for potential antibiotic treatments.